Government to create 6,000 extra NHS apprenticeship places

Up to 6,000 extra apprenticeships will be created after the Department of Health yesterday announced plans to inject an extra £10 million into the NHS apprenticeship programme.

The funding for NHS employers is designed to expand the programme by at least 75,000 more places.

It follows 10 recommendations made in a report by the National Apprenticeship Advisory Committee, a group set up to promote the recruitment and retention of apprentices in the NHS.

Under the NHS apprenticeship programme, apprentices work and receive practical and technical training to improve qualifications. Roles include support positions such as dental nurses and pharmacy workers.

The initial target was for 5,000 apprenticeships to be created in the health service during 2009/10, but figures from March 2010 show that NHS trusts in England have created around 8,000.

Simon Burns, minister of state for health, said: “This extra funding for apprenticeships will give young people the chance to learn important skills and the opportunity for career progression in a stimulating and worthwhile environment.

“We will ensure that the NHS, Skills for Health and NHS Employers work together to actively promote a skilled and flexible workforce and improve the quality of healthcare through appropriate apprenticeship training programmes.”

Gill Bellford, director for core services at NHS Employers, welcomed the extra funding: “Apprenticeships have proved a successful way for trusts to develop the effectiveness of their current support workforce by giving them extra training and developing their skills. Apprenticeships are also an excellent way to engage with local communities and boost the local economy.”

John Hayes, minister of state for further education, skills and lifelong learning, added: “These apprenticeships will equip NHS staff with all the skills they need to do their vital jobs and help them progress through their career more quickly.”

Apprenticeships are available for people aged 16 and over in around 200 occupations.

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