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Apprentices: Vocational Guidance

Question for Department for Education

UIN 143911, tabled on 26 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to to encourage students to take up (a) nursing apprenticeships and (b) other vital vocational apprenticeships following the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

3 February 2021

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow in light of COVID-19.

To help employers offer new apprenticeships, as part of the government's Plan for Jobs, they are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged 25 and over. As set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at Spending Review, we have extended the eligibility period for these incentives until 31 March 2021, continuing our support for employers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nursing apprenticeships offer a high-quality work-based route into the profession, in addition to the established higher education route. There is now a complete apprentice pathway from entry-level through to postgraduate-level from Nursing Associate at Level 5 to Registered Nurse at Level 6. Other standards available include District Nurse and Community Public Health Nurse. A full list of apprenticeship standards can be found here:

In the first quarter of the 2020/21 academic year, there have been 560 starts on the ‘Registered Nurse – Degree’ apprenticeship standard and 1,660 starts on the ‘Nursing Associate’ apprenticeship standard.

In August 2020, the government announced a new financial package worth £172 million, to support employers to increase participation in nursing degree apprenticeships over the next four years. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) estimate this will enable 2,000 nurse degree apprentice starts in the 2020/21 academic year.

We are working closely with DHSC, employers and stakeholders to make sure the NHS is fully supported to recruit the apprentices it needs to deliver high-quality care.

To encourage students to consider nursing and other vital vocational apprenticeships, we are promoting apprenticeships in schools through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme. This free service provides schools and teachers with resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships.