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‘Little incentive’ for nursing degree apprenticeships

The uptake of nursing degree apprenticeships has been “far too slow” as the requirements compared with other degree apprenticeships have not been properly understood, the Commons education committee has claimed.

Commenting on the committee’s nursing degree apprenticeships report, published 6 December, Conservative MP and chair of the committee Robert Halfon said there was no evidence of how the Department for Education will meet its target for 1,000 nursing associates to start a degree apprenticeship each year by 2020. According to the committee there were no more than 30 nursing degree apprentices starting training at two of the four universities funded by Higher Education Funding Council for England to develop degree apprenticeships in nursing. 

"The idea that degree apprenticeships are a realistic route into the profession is currently a mirage,” said Halfon in a statement, stressing the “huge difficulties” in delivering nursing degree apprenticeships due to more off-the-job training and safety requirements compared with other degree apprenticeships. “Ministers must now recognise the uniqueness of the health service’s position and allow flexibility in the use of the apprenticeship levy so these apprenticeships can be made to work for both the employer and students.”

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