University of Essex teams up with NHS to offer apprenticeships in nursing

The University of Essex has announced it has teamed up with four NHS Trusts in Essex to be one of the first areas in the UK to offer nursing degree ‘top-up’ apprenticeships.

Through nursing degree apprenticeships, existing NHS staff can train to become nurses by studying part-time alongside their jobs. NHS trusts partner with universities to offer the apprenticeships, and pay apprentices’ course fees using the government’s apprenticeship levy.

With its experience in running nursing courses, the University has been chosen as provider by a consortium covering mid and south Essex, comprising:

  • Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust
  • Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

27 staff from the four trusts started their courses on 9 April at their Southend Campus.

Julie Coleman, Lead Nurse Practice Development/Education Liaison Manager at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for us to develop a ‘grow your own’ workforce model.

“There has been a huge amount of interest from existing staff as well as new starters to the Trust. Vocational courses enable staff to fulfil lifelong ambitions of becoming registered nurses.

“From the interviews it was clear that the group of staff hoping to complete the apprenticeship are passionate about the nursing profession.”

Professor Graham Underwood, Executive Dean of Essex’s Faculty of Science and Health said: “Establishing these new apprenticeship programmes with our partner NHS Trusts in Essex is testament to the high regard in which our nursing programmes are held.

“We are proud to be working across Essex and the wider region to train the nurses and other healthcare professionals that the health sector needs.”

The apprentices will undergo the same training as the University’s full-time nursing students, organised differently to fit around their continued work commitments.

Sarah Lee, Head of Nursing at the University’s School of Health and Social Care said: “Essex has a long tradition of being able to respond quickly to changes in healthcare and has always supported a variety of routes into nursing beyond traditional full-time programmes.

“Apprenticeships provide great opportunities to widen participation in nursing by supporting people with a variety of backgrounds to become registered nurses.”

Information on all courses provided by the University of Essex can be found on their website.