Nursing degree apprenticeships: in poor health? Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

A special case?

1.Setting an ambitious target for apprenticeships across the public sector is vital to promoting their uptake as part of a wholesale shift in our economy. But that target must be realistic, and any barriers should be torn down. There are too many obstacles in the way of nursing degree apprenticeships, making it extremely difficult for the NHS to play its part in achieving the public sector target. (Paragraph 12)

2.The Government should maintain an ongoing conversation with the NHS to ensure that it is supported to develop a sufficient number of quality nursing apprenticeships. (Paragraph 13)

3.We recognise that nursing degree apprenticeships alone will not solve the nursing workforce crisis or improve access to nursing for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, no-one should be prevented from undertaking a nursing degree apprenticeship due to a lack of availability or take-up within the system. We welcome the Government’s cross-departmental work in establishing nursing degree apprenticeships and we look forward to it developing with a focus on expanding the programme to ensure that every future nurse has a choice about their route into the profession. (Paragraph 14)

4.There is currently little incentive for the NHS to spend precious time and resource building nursing apprenticeships. It is imperative that nursing apprenticeships work for the NHS as well as for providers and nursing students. (Paragraph 15)

Supernumerary status

5.We look forward to the outcome of the NMC’s consultation on whether nursing associate students should remain supernumerary and whether there are alternative approaches. We urge the NMC to apply any safe and effective flexibility to supernumerary status to nursing degree apprentices in addition to nursing associates. (Paragraph 22)

Apprenticeship levy

6.We recommend that the Government should reconsider its position in not providing much needed flexibility in the apprenticeship levy for the NHS.

7.We recommend the funding band for nursing degree apprenticeships remains at a minimum of £27,000 and the IfA should consider increasing it. Any future reduction of the funding band must be assessed to ensure that providers can continue to deliver apprenticeships. These assessments should be published. (Paragraph 36)

8.We recommend that the Government should prioritise investment in CPD for nurses and that it release a strategy and timeline for how it intends to do so. We also recommend that more postgraduate (Level 7) apprenticeships should be created for nurses to enable them to further their careers and develop specialisms. The Government should provide funding for trailblazer groups to develop these apprenticeships. (Paragraph 40)

9.We recommend that employers should be able to use the apprenticeship levy to develop the necessary infrastructure for nursing degree apprenticeships, including training nurses in supervision and protecting time for them to undertake such training. (Paragraph 41)

Published: 6 December 2018