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University and NHS hail success of programme growing future NHS workforce

Partners University of Gloucestershire and NHS Gloucestershire have reported the success of the Nursing Associates programme in Gloucestershire, following the publication of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

The Nursing Associates programme enables people interested in working in health care to receive on-the-job training and perform core nursing tasks in different healthcare settings in Gloucestershire, and provides a progression route into graduate level nursing.

Nursing Associates work together to develop the skills and professional competence required to support the delivery of high-quality practice, meaning they have an immediate impact on the delivery of care for patients.

Nick Oxlade, Strategic Lead for Partnerships and Projects at the University’s School of Health and Social Care, has been working alongside the NHS in Gloucestershire to deliver the programme.

He said: “University of Gloucestershire is extremely proud to have been delivering the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme since 2017.

“We currently have over 120 Trainee Nursing Associates on the programme, with an additional 50 students also topping up from a nursing associate to Adult Nurse route. 

“We have worked closely with local NHS partners to develop and deliver multiple Health and Social care programmes and to collaboratively ensure the success of these programme in practice.

“University of Gloucestershire currently has around 2,000 students across all Health and Social Care programmes and have proudly graduated 100s of additional registered professionals in recent years to support the NHS workforce.

“We look forward to continuing to expand trainee numbers within the local area to deliver the NHS workforce of the future.”

Tracey Cox, Director of People, Culture and Engagement at NHS Gloucestershire, said: “We were one of the first counties to explore the Nursing Associates programme and the benefits are clear to see. Not only do the students get on the job training and frontline experience, but our NHS teams are being enriched by the new roles.

“We have many Nursing Associates graduates working across our hospitals, primary care teams and other healthcare settings and it’s great to see so many choosing to continue their studies and set themselves on the path to a career in healthcare.”

Following the success of the Nursing Associate apprenticeship, the University has developed and is delivering the following Health and Social Care programmes; Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Learning Disability Nursing, Paramedic Science, Operating Department Practice, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Diagnostic Radiography, Healthcare Science, Social Work, as well as Certificates in higher education in; Health and Social Care, and Children, Young People and Families.

Announced on Friday, the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan – commissioned by the Government – sets out a strategy to train, retain and reform the workforce.