In-house apprenticeships to prevent nurse debt

A provider of health care services in Cornwall is offering apprenticeships to its employees to encourage home-grown nurses, personal development and job opportunities, without the debt which frequently occurs whilst studying.

In-house apprenticeships to prevent nurse debt

Currently, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust employ 50 apprentices in a range of services and roles, varying from business admin, finance, Health Care Assistant level, team leader, manager and customer service.

One of CFT’s services, Home First, aims to provide short-term re-enablement and to help patients recover safely from a stay in hospital at home, by working to identify what support they need and how it can be provided.

The Home First service offers a multi-disciplinary approach and is made up of nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and support workers. The duration of support depends on the patient’s needs,with Generic Support Workers (GSW) having no time constraints regarding how long they can spend at their patient visits.

Apprenticeships have been offered to GSWs within the Home First service to provide a paid opportunity for staff to learn new skills and progress their career in the Trust. The four year degree course is taught through the Open University and paid for entirely by the Trust on the premise that staff remain within their new nursing role once qualified for two years.Apprentices have access to a debt-free learning opportunity and unlimited support from CFT, their mentors and managers.

GSW, Holly Mitchell, has been with the Trust for 18 months. She began her apprenticeship with the Home First team in September.

“From family experience and seeing the care NHS workers gave to my mum when she was poorly, I have always wanted to give something back. I never had the opportunity to go to university because of the expense and completing an apprenticeship previously was never a consideration because of the low wages often associated with apprenticeship programmes, so when the opportunity came to learn on the job and to train as a qualified nurse, I jumped at the chance.

“I currently have two student days a week where I am learning the ropes, one day’s study a week and 22 hours working within the Home First team as a GSW. The support I have received has been fantastic and the help is there for me 24/7. I can’t wait to complete my studies and I’m really thankful to the Trust for the opportunity” commented Holly.

Following completion of the degree course, newly qualified nurses are then able to apply for the Trust’s Preceptorship Programme where they can undertake further training and specialise in an area of nursing of interest to them, whilst still remaining debt-free.

Those employed by CFT can speak to their managers about apprenticeship opportunities. Members of the public who wish to join the Trust as an apprentice should visit http://jobs.cornwallft.nhs.uk/ for current vacancies or email cft.educationandtraining@nhs.net