Health educators respond to Education Committee’s report on nursing degree apprenticeships

6 December 2018

The Council of Deans of Health has responded to the report by the House of Commons Education Committee on nursing degree apprenticeships.

The report, Nursing degree apprenticeships: in poor health?, recognises the challenges for employers delivering the apprenticeship and recommends that employers should be able to use the apprenticeship levy to develop the necessary infrastructure for nursing degree apprenticeships, including training nurses in supervision and protecting time for them to undertake such training, and that the funding band should be maintained at the current level with a further recommendation that the Institute for Apprenticeships should give consideration to increasing it.

The Council’s Executive Director, Dr Katerina Kolyva, who gave evidence to the Committee, said:

“We welcome the report’s acknowledgement of the unique nature and high costs of providing healthcare education. Any fall in the funding band for the nursing degree apprenticeship will make these routes into nursing less financially viable for providers. It is also important that any increased flexibility in the rules for levy spending allows it to be used for practice education. Flexibility in overall use of the levy in the NHS, for example to cover backfill costs, must not reduce the amount available to universities for providing education to apprentices”.

The Council has also welcomed the Committee’s call for the Government to prioritise investment in continuing professional development (CPD) for nurses. The report recommends that the Government should prioritise investment in CPD for nurses and that it release a strategy and timeline for how it intends to do so.

Dr Kolyva responded:

“We fully support the Committee’s call for the Government to prioritise investment in CPD which has suffered significant cuts in funding over the last two years. Investment in post-registration education is vital to increase training capacity as well as supporting service quality and retention”.

The report also quoted the Council’s evidence around the regulatory complexity of the environment in which the apprenticeships are delivered, being regulated by both healthcare and higher education regulators and with accountability sitting between two Government departments.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

  1. The Council of Deans of Health is the voice of the deans and heads of UK university faculties for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions. For further information: councilofdeans.org.uk.
  2. House of Commons Education Committee report Nursing degree apprenticeships: in poor health?
  3. For more information on this press release, please contact Jon Eames, 07496 693806.

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