In December 2018 The Education Committee reviewed nursing degree apprenticeships and produced the report Nursing degree apprenticeships: in poor health? The Committee warned that the uptake of nursing degree apprenticeships has been too slow (only 30 started last year) and that the DfE won’t meet their target of 400 nursing associates progressing to degree apprenticeships from 2019. The Committee stated that nursing degree apprenticeships was more of a ‘mirage’ than a successful and sustainable route into the profession unless delivery barriers are resolved. You can read the recommendations from the Committee’s report here.
The Government have now responded to the Committee’s report (Government response here) largely agreeing with several of the Committee’s recommendations. The response:
- Agrees with recommendations 1 and 2 on maintaining support to develop a sufficient number of quality nursing apprenticeships. It outlines intent of current reforms in achieving this.
- Agrees with recommendation 3 that Nurse Degree apprenticeship cannot act as the lone route to train the nursing workforce and adds “that has never been the intention”. Further outlining reforms in place to achieve this.
- Agrees with recommendation 4 on the need to incentive the NHS to spend time and resource building nursing apprenticeships and outlines the case and plan for making sure “apprenticeships to meet the needs of employers, as well as apprentices and training providers.”
- On recommendation 5 and the NMC’s consultation on whether nursing associate students should remain supernumerary, Government outline that the NMC agreed in 26th September “they have approved proposals for an additional approach to nursing associate training, which is a different choice for employers to the supernumerary approach to training. This alternative option will enable employers to work in partnership with approved education institutions, to identify the proportion of time the organisation will be able to support protected learning time for the trainees.” State the NMC will consider whether to extend this training model to the other professions they regulate once they have undertaken evaluation and review.
- On recommendation 6 and 9, response outlines the incentives for employers to invest in workforce and the role of the levy.
- Does not agree with recommendation 7, on the funding band for nursing degree apprenticeships remaining at a minimum of £27,000 and the IfA should consider increasing. Government say nursing degree apprenticeships are in the highest funding band and “The Institute for Apprenticeships is responsible for regularly reviewing standards to make sure they are high quality, continue to meet the needs of employers, and are value for money.”
- Agrees with recommendation 8 on investment in CPD and state this was recognised in the NHS long-term plan.