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Nursing associate role was most popular NHS apprenticeship last year

More than 24,500 apprentices training in 178 different programmes across the NHS in 2020-21, the largest-ever number in one year

More than 24,500 apprentices training in 178 different programmes across the NHS in 2020-21, the largest-ever number in one year

The nursing associate role was the most popular apprenticeship in England’s NHS last year with thousands applying for the programme, latest figures show.

Data from Health Education England (HEE) reveal that 3,375 people were accepted on to the nursing associate scheme in 2020-21.

Apprenticeships are gateway to hundreds of NHS careers

The nursing associate role was introduced in 2017 to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and band 5 nurses.

Apprenticeships offer routes into more than 350 NHS careers through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning.

    More than 24,500 apprentices training in 178 different programmes across the NHS in 2020-21, the largest-ever number in one year

    Picture: John Houlihan

    The nursing associate role was the most popular apprenticeship in England’s NHS last year with thousands applying for the programme, latest figures show.

    Data from Health Education England (HEE) reveal that 3,375 people were accepted on to the nursing associate scheme in 2020-21.

    Apprenticeships are gateway to hundreds of NHS careers

    The nursing associate role was introduced in 2017 to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and band 5 nurses.

    Apprenticeships offer routes into more than 350 NHS careers through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning.

    Last year there were more than 24,500 apprentices training in 178 different programmes across the NHS, the largest-ever number in one year according to HEE.

    Nurse says apprenticeship ‘gave me the opportunity to work towards my dream job’

    Emily Lane, who became a nurse through the nursing degree apprenticeship scheme, said she was financially unable to leave her full-time job to study nursing at university.

    ‘This route was perfect for me,’ she said, ‘It gave me the opportunity to work towards my dream job while still earning a wage and being able to support myself and run a home.

    ‘Without the apprenticeship, it would have been very difficult for me to pursue my dream of becoming a registered nurse.’

    Rise in number of GCSE and A-level apprenticeship courses

    Since 2016-17 there has been a 40% increase in the number of higher and degree apprenticeships in the NHS, with 81% of those undertaking courses at level 2 (GCSE) or 3 (A-level), HEE figures show.

    To support the growing number of apprenticeships, HEE has invested £23 million from the private sector to fund apprenticeship places.


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