University promises to employ its graduate nurses who cannot find work

University of Bedfordshire unveils jobs pledge in bid to boost demand for its nursing degrees

University of Bedfordshire unveils jobs pledge in bid to boost demand for its nursing degrees

A university is hoping to attract nursing students with the promise of employment if they fail to secure a nursing position once they graduate.

Picture: Alamy

Candidates for the University of Bedfordshire scheme would be required to produce evidence they had unsuccessfully applied for a nursing job in the NHS. 

The offer of a 12-month contract would be for unspecified work in the university and is only open to students who graduate with a 2:2 degree or higher. They would be required to have passed their finals at first attempt.

A safety net for graduates

The university is promoting the offer, which will begin in 2018, as a ‘safety net’ while nursing graduates look for work.

The scheme is believed to be the first scheme of its kind in the UK. It points to the cooling effect the 2017 abolition of the NHS bursary has had on the popularity of nursing as a degree.

High vacancy rate in the NHS

In practice, few Bedfordshire graduates may find they need the scheme. In June 2017, NHS Digital said there were 32,929 nursing and midwifery vacancies in England, with a rising number of job advertisement from NHS trusts.

Vice-chancellor Bill Rammell said: ‘There is a national shortage of nurses and the NHS is struggling to provide enough care. We want to encourage more students to train with us.'

A university spokesperson added: 'With the removal of the nursing student bursary we have seen a fall in applications for nursing courses across the country, including our own. This is particularly prevalent in adult nursing.'

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