First nursing degree apprenticeship cohort at Bucks hailed ‘fantastic’

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Date: 23rd Apr 2018

The first few weeks of Bucks New University’s first ever nursing apprenticeship have been hailed a success by students and lecturers.

More than 30 apprentices started on their journey to becoming nurses at the university – one of the first to roll out the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship.

Jayne Francis-Sharma, Senior Lecturer and Lead for Nurse Degree Apprenticeship, said the new training route makes becoming a nurse accessible to everyone, even those who cannot commit to full-time study.

She added: "It’s a great development for nursing and exciting for us to be working so closely with employers to develop their staff, staff who will be able to provide the best possible care to patients and their families.

“It has gone exceptionally well so far and the cohort are engaged and enthusiastic. Well done to everyone for making this first week such a success.”Adult and child nursing apprentices

The new apprentices, who started at the beginning of the month, are following one of three pathways into nursing: mental health, adult, and child nursing.

Bucks is training this cohort of apprentices from West London Mental Health Trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Ramsay UK Healthcare group.

Megan Howe, a nursery nurse on the neonatal unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, is a Registered Nurse (Child) degree apprentice and said so far it had been ‘fantastic’.

“The first few weeks have been intense and overwhelming, but so fantastic,” said the 25-year-old.

“I have felt so welcomed by everyone at the university, from the staff on the reception desk, to the lecturers, to the skills lab team, and the other members of the apprenticeship cohort.

“The degree and the opportunity to become a nurse means everything to me. I've been in awe of my colleagues for the last four years of working alongside them. Having been given the chance to train further to allow me to do more for my patients is a dream come true.

“The investment in me from the trust and the faith in me from the university, is the most wonderful feeling, because it just shows that others believe in me as much as I believe in myself.

“The sessions with paediatric lecturers Chris Tapping and Jennifer Hanley particularly, have been invaluable, and really helped bring my existing knowledge and learning back around to a paediatric-based focus.”

The degree apprenticeship will take three and a half years.Mental health nursing apprentices

Karen Buckwell-Nutt, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this apprenticeship and have the opportunity to work with a number of employers, especially in light of the current national shortage of nurses.

“By working with employers to deliver this apprenticeship we are able contribute to the much needed future workforce. We have also developed the nursing associate apprenticeship in response to employers workforce needs.”

The introduction of the apprenticeship levy last year means employers in any sector with a pay bill of more than £3 million per year have to pay 0.5 per cent into a digital account which receives a 10% top-up from the government.

Employers, including the NHS and other healthcare providers, can use their apprenticeship ‘pot’ to access the new apprenticeship ‘standards’, which now include degree apprenticeships from higher education providers – like Bucks New University.

Higher and degree apprentices spend 80% of their time in their job role and 20% ‘off-the-job’ with a mix of University teaching and work-based training with their employer in the workplace.

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