The much maligned Jeremy Hunt has announced what appears to be a genuine innovation designed to tackle the continuing and chronic under supply of qualified nurses for the NHS.

The programme is committing to high level vocational development and a new apprenticeship standard to underpin the initiative.

The eye catching features of the initiative include:

  • Those enrolling on the programme being able to stay in work as they learn
  • Learners not incurring fees for the training delivered - unlike the student loan regime
  • Those entering the programme being able to enter the programme at different levels subject to existing qualifications held
  • Training undertaken can count towards a degree - with nursing associates required to undertake additional complementary training to achieve the required standard
  • Current employers being incentivised/compensated for supporting the programme.

Well executed, this plan could help create a new model for vocational development and recruitment that other sectors could also benefit from.

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