The first 2,500 nursing associate apprentices are expected to start training by April of this year, according to the chief executive of Health Education England (HEE).
In his chief executive’s report for the organisation’s December meeting, Professor Ian Cumming said that the new nursing associate apprenticeship standard was now complete and would be “the delivery model for this programme”.
“I’m delighted that our nursing associate programme goes from strength to strength. Following the national announcement to grow nursing associate numbers, we will support 5,000 trainee starts in 2018, and we have allocated these on a per capita basis to each region,” he said.
He explained start dates for trainees might vary from region to region, but the organisation expected that there would be “2,500 starts by April 2018 and a further 2,500 starts by September 2018”. He said each HEE region is also asked to work with providers and higher education institution to consider flexible delivery models including onsite delivery of the programme, he said, adding a national implementation board had been set up to oversee the sustainable growth of the role over the 2018-9 period.
Plans to expand the number of apprenticeship places, allowing nursing associates to qualify as fully registered nurses, were announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in October. In his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, he said the measure was to be part of what he called “the biggest expansion of nurse training in the history or the NHS”.
He added he planned to "[triple] the number of nursing associates so people already in the NHS can become a registered nurse after a four-year apprenticeship without having to do a traditional full-time university course".