Trust congratulates first ever nurse apprenticeship graduates

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has congratulated the first ever graduates of its Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship.

The group, who began the course in January 2019, were presented with certificates and pin badges at the Trust’s annual nursing conference last week.

The badges were designed by Rhian Spencer, one of the graduates, and were a fitting tribute to a tradition where nurses received a badge on qualifying. Chief Nurse Gary O’Hare was also presented with an honorary badge as a thank you for his unwavering support of the apprenticeship.

The Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship offers apprentices paid employment and education through a combination of learning and working on inpatient wards. In conjunction with the University of Sunderland, it’s a unique opportunity to earn and learn.

On completing the programme, the graduates are now fully qualified registered nurses. They are the first ever cohort to finish, which offers different lengths of course depending on previous experience and qualifications.

Gail Bayes, Deputy Director of CNTW Academy Development, said: “I’m so proud of the group, who are the first to become nursing registrants via an apprenticeship. They’ve been true pioneers, showing strength and resilience through a period of unprecedented challenge, and are now paving the way as they embark on their professional career pathways.”

All those who graduated were internal staff, many of whom were working in clinical support worker roles and wanted to progress to become registered nurses. This forms part of the Trust’s nursing strategy which puts an emphasis on ‘growing your own’ and allowing staff to develop.

Last year, CNTW also announced it was to be the first trust in the region to offer a mental health or learning disability nurse degree apprenticeship to aspiring nurses from outside of the organisation.

The apprenticeship has been a great success and now welcomes cohorts, from both inside and outside the Trust, every January and July.

Students receive a high level of support and work with senior mentors throughout the course.

Annette Connor, Apprenticeships and Career Development Lead, said: “The course has been a great success so far, with around 150 currently on the programme. It has been a real commitment from the Trust to offer innovative career pathways. We are delighted to be able to support the future generation of mental health and learning disability nurses.”

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