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Private healthcare provider Spire Healthcare is launching a new nurse degree apprenticeship programme in partnership with the University of Sunderland.
Spire said it was searching for 270 nurse degree apprentices to join the programme, with roles available across its 35 English hospitals.
“The programme has been developed to give people broad experience of healthcare in England”
The nurse degree apprenticeship is open to applicants aged 18 and over at “all stages of life”, including university graduates and people looking to retrain.
Unusually for a nurse apprenticeship programme, it is also open to people coming straight out of education, with no existing healthcare background.
Applicants need to hold a maths and English GCSE, grade A to C / 9 to 4 or equivalent, and have either a level 3 in Healthcare or 112 UCAS points.
The length of the programme is four or five years, depending on existing qualifications, and reduced to two to three years for nursing associates or assistant practitioners to reflect existing experience.
It will combine training and assessments via distancing learning and placements. The latter will be delivered at a Spire hospital as well as at the local NHS trust and GP practice.
Spire said apprentices would “enjoy a flexible, work-based approach, combining university study and workplace learning to develop new knowledge, skills and thinking whilst completing a degree”.
They would also have the “benefit” of earning while learning, with a salary of between £18,000 and £21,000 depending on previous experience, it added.
Each nurse degree apprenticeship will complete the programme with a BSc degree, with successful applicants starting the programme in July 2021.
Deborah Barker, group talent manager at Spire Healthcare, said: “We are thrilled to be launching our new nurse degree apprenticeship programme.”
“This ‘grow your own’ model is a very exciting development for everyone concerned”
Ms Barker said the appeal of apprenticeships had risen in recent years due to the increasing cost of traditional degrees, which had been compounded by Covid-19 disrupting classroom-based teaching.
She added: “The programme has been developed to give people broad experience of healthcare in England, they will complete placements in Spire hospitals, NHS hospitals, and in the community.
“This ensures that every apprentice gets a full-rounded experience of the role and is well-prepared for their future career in the sector.”
Simone Bedford, team leader for professional healthcare practice and midwifery at Sunderland University, said: “This is a great opportunity to work with partners in the private sector.
“The Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship will be delivered nationally within the Spire Healthcare group and will offer greater flexibility than a traditional degree,” she said.
“Based on the University of Sunderland’s successful experience elsewhere, this ‘grow your own’ model is a very exciting development for everyone concerned,” she added.
Spire currently has 25 nurse degree apprentices enrolled on an existing programme who are due to graduate in October 2021.
Spire Healthcare runs 39 private hospitals and eight clinics across England, Wales and Scotland, and is the leading private provider, by volume, of knee and hip operations in the UK.