From education to employment

Nursing first for national apprenticeship partnership

The very first nurses to complete a unique apprenticeship programme have graduated from the University of Sunderland.

Private healthcare provider, Spire Healthcare, launched the new nurse degree apprenticeship programme in partnership with the University of Sunderland, two years ago, with roles available across Spire’s 35 English hospitals.

The 146 apprentices have studied remotely with the University, as well as taking part in placements across a range of nursing settings such as wards, outpatients, operating theatres, hospices, A&E and more. By developing their knowledge, skills and thinking while completing their degree, Spire’s nursing apprentices have gained a broad experience of healthcare in England, preparing them for their future nursing careers.

Eight nurses from across the country graduated this term from the programme, with several attending the recent Winter Graduation Ceremonies in person to collect their certificates on stage at the Stadium of Light.

One of those nurses is Laura Turner, 32, from the Midlands, whose long-term ambition to become an Adult Nurse has been realised thanks to the programme.

She says: “It’s fantastic to be graduating, this programme has helped me achieved my long-term ambitions.

“Prior to joining Spire Healthcare, based at Sutton Coalfield, I spent eight years at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where I completed a Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, but I wanted to go further and top-up to become an Adult Nurse, it makes you a lot more employable.

“It’s been great and I’ve achieved my goal to qualify. I’ll soon be starting a new position at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on a surgical thoracic ward. Eventually the dream is to work in the Intensive Care Unit.”

Like Laura, many of those graduates and nursing apprentices are now delivering critically needed nursing skills directly into the UK healthcare sector.

The nurse degree apprenticeship is open to applicants at all stages of life, including school leavers, university graduates and people looking to retrain. The nurse degree apprenticeship is a work-based qualification providing apprentices with a combination of training and assessments via distancing learning and on-site placements applying practical knowledge. Placements are delivered at a Spire hospital as well as at the local NHS trust and GP practice.

Apprentices experienced a flexible, work-based approach, combining university study and workplace learning to develop new knowledge, skills and thinking whilst completing their degree.

The benefit of the degree apprenticeship route is the ability to earn while learning, with a starting salary of approximately £21,000 depending on previous experience. Each nurse degree apprenticeship completed the programme with a BSc degree.

Head of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Sunderland, Sue Brent, says:

“This has been a great opportunity to work with partners in the private sector.

“The Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship is delivered nationally within the Spire Healthcare group and offers greater flexibility than a traditional degree to new nursing apprentices.

“This model is an innovative development for everyone concerned and we commend Spire Healthcare for its initiative in embarking on such a programme.”

To find out more and apply visit here

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