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Essex to offer new health apprenticeship programmes

  • Date

    Mon 20 Jul 20

OT student

New health apprenticeship programmes are to be delivered by the University of Essex as part of the NHS’s plan to deliver a transformed health service in England.

The University has successfully secured funding from Health Education England’s Strategic Support Fund, which has been created exclusively to encourage the establishment of new courses for healthcare professionals.

This means from October 2021 the University can offer apprenticeship programmes for nursing associates, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.

The NHS Long Term Plan includes the ambition to better support staff currently working within the NHS to progress into professional qualifications in order to meet the demands of the health and care services.

The University currently delivers full-time occupational therapy (OT) and speech and language therapy (SLT) courses, but this route is not a viable option for support and assistant staff who need to work whilst training to become a qualified therapist. The new apprenticeships would enable these support staff to receive the development and career progression they need to remain within the NHS.

Working with the Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT), the University will be able to offer up to 30 apprenticeship places for each OT and SLT discipline.

These courses will also help address the increasing demand for these services due to the UK’s aging population, the increasing longevity of people with long-term conditions and complex needs, as well as the potential rise in mental health conditions.

The University will also be working with Provide to deliver up to 30 nursing associate apprenticeships, which will help fill the gap in skills and knowledge between healthcare assistants and the registered nurses. It will also enable the nursing associates to progress to registered nurse level.

Professor Victoria Joffe, Dean of the University’s School of Health and Social Care, said: “I am delighted that we have been awarded this funding from Health Education England to develop, with our partners, a nursing associate apprenticeship and an OT and SLT apprenticeship. The call for a range of apprenticeship training, from our NHS partners, and prospective students, has been strong and consistent, and in the School of Health and Social Care, we want to ensure we are offering a range of diverse routes that are accessible and manageable for all people looking to join the health and social care workforce.”