University wins £4.2m contract for nursing apprenticeships

The University of Brighton is to offer nursing associate apprenticeships
The University of Brighton is to offer nursing associate apprenticeships

Funding won by the University of Brighton is set to provide 280 nursing apprentices in Sussex and Surrey over the next three years.

The £4.2m contract will ‘bridge a gap’ between nursing assistants and registered nurses, with the new role of ‘nursing associates’.

Professor Paula Kersten

Professor Paula Kersten

The contract, from a consortium of healthcare providers in Sussex and Surrey, will provide for around 90 apprenticeships during 2018, and up to around 280 over the life of the contract which runs until March 2021.

The first nursing associates started their apprenticeships this week at the university’s School of Health Sciences and will spend around 40 per cent of their working time attending taught sessions or on placement.

Professor Paula Kersten, the university’s head of the School of Health Sciences, said: “I’m delighted that we are playing a central role in developing apprenticeships with our partners in the NHS. They enable us to offer different pathways to suit learners’ needs, and a highly responsive solution for employers.

“Colleagues in the School have developed the new nursing associate apprenticeship in close collaboration with employers. These apprentices will study alongside our established apprenticeship programme for assistant practitioners, and fill an important gap in the local workforce.”

Consortium members include: Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, First Community Health and Care, Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, St Catherine’s Hospice and NHS East Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group.

The university plans to launch further apprenticeships this year including a degree apprenticeship in healthcare science, degree apprenticeships in both occupational therapy and podiatry, and a masters-level apprenticeship in advanced clinical practice.

Professor Stephen Denyer, the university’s pro-vice-chancellor for education and student experience, said: “We are working with employers in many more sectors to develop our range of apprenticeships and we welcome conversations to explore new possibilities.”

The university is also responding to calls from the construction industry for degree apprenticeships to be developed to meet the growing skills gaps facing the sector. The university will be offering a degree apprenticeship in construction site management as soon as the associated National Apprenticeship Standard is approved, expected later this year. A masters-level apprenticeship in chartered town planning is also being developed, the university said.

Viki Faulkner, head of apprenticeships at the University of Brighton, said: “The university is also developing a range of masters-level degree provision for professionals including degree apprenticeships in teaching and senior leadership.”

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