Financial support of up to £172m for apprentice nurses in England has been revealed by the government.
The scheme will enable healthcare employers to take on up to 2,000 nursing degree apprentices every year over the next four years.
The news comes as interest in health careers has rocketed, with the number of people seeking information on nursing on the NHS careers website rising by 138% between March and June.
Nursing degree apprenticeships provide a route into nursing where people can train to nationally recognised standards and earn as they learn, benefiting those for whom a full-time university course is not practical or preferred.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “I’m thrilled to see a rising interest in nursing careers, but we must ensure this fantastic career is truly diverse and open to all.”
The scheme allow students to earn as they learn and this new financial backing will allow healthcare employers to 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.
Gillian Keegan, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister said: “This multi-million pound funding boost will help to support thousands of apprentices to gain the skills they need, and earn while they learn.”
NHS and other healthcare employers will receive £8,300 per placement per year for both new and existing apprenticeships.
The nursing degree apprenticeship is a four-year course with placements available in the four fields of adult, children, mental health and learning disability, after which students can qualify as fully registered nurses.
NHS and social care employers currently train around 1,000 nurse apprentices every year.
Employers in England will also benefit from a new payment announced last month of £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, up until 31 January 2021.