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First cohorts of registered nursing professionals complete their Open University Nurse training

Group shot: Registered Apprentice Nurses with Donna Parkinson, Head of Learning, Education and Development, Juliet Pearce, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs, Darren Cattel, CEO Isle of Wight NHS Trust.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust (IOW NHS Trust) is proud to celebrate its first cohort of Registered Nurse Degree Apprentices who completed their nursing qualifications, in partnership with The Open University (OU).

Like many other NHS organisations across the country, the Trust has found it challenging to recruit enough nursing professionals to fill vacancies, so this new programme was designed in collaboration with the OU to increase the number of registered nurses and nursing associates on the Island.

We have 22 Registered Nurses graduating this year. They are a combination of part-time apprentices recruited on a four-year Registered Nurse degree training programme in 2018 and full-time apprentices who began a three-year Registered Nurse degree training programme in 2019.

All 22 apprentices have met the qualification requirements to successfully register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, providing them with the license to practise within specialisms in adult, mental health and learning disabilities.  

The Trust’s collaboration with the OU to deliver both apprenticeship programmes, with course fees fully funded by the Trust’s Apprenticeship Levy, has proven very successful.

This well-established career pathway has enabled people living on the Island to attain the vital skills to deliver effective, safe and responsive nursing care in and across a wide range of health and care settings.

It has helped to increase the number of Registered Nurses and Nursing Associates recruited to the Trust, with a total of 70 nursing apprentices, currently on track to qualify on one of the two programme pathways.

Juliet Pearce, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said:

“It’s a delight to see our apprentices qualify as registered nurses, they are a key part of the multidisciplinary teams that meet the health and care needs of patients and service users on the Island.

“The OU learning model works well for our nursing apprentices, with blended learning and it is extremely flexible. Being an island, not everybody can commit to travel to mainland universities.

“So, the distance learning and the support from the OU allows staff to stay on the Island and learn and train. That's why the model from the OU works so well for us.”

Donna Parkinson, Head of Learning, Education and Development at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said:

“We are incredibly proud to see our first groups of Registered Nurse Degree Apprentices and Nursing Associate Higher Apprentices qualify through this flexible training route.

“We had an extraordinary amount of interest in applications and enquiries on these courses and are delighted to see so many people qualifying and working towards achieving their career goals.

“Working in partnership with our colleagues at the OU to provide crucial training has helped to widen access and boost the skills shortage for registered and associate nurses on the Island.

“This is a key part of our resourcing and recruitment strategy, helping to address some of the barriers to nursing, such as cost and a lack of bursary, which made attending university prohibitive. This training pathway has unlocked the career path of nursing to all.”

The Trust provides an integrated service, which allows trainees on the Island to gain valuable experience across acute, community, ambulance and mental health and learning disabilities services.

The Registered Nurse Apprenticeship course has been absolutely amazing. I have been able to learn on the job, make friends and do all my learning from home.

I will recommend this course to anyone I know; it is such a great opportunity to become a nurse and not have to move away to go to a university. Three years down the line, I have finished and am now a Registered Nurse, I would never be where I am now without this apprenticeship.

Isobel Wells
Registered Nurse, Isle of Wight NHS Trust
•	Darren Cattell, CEO Isle of Wight NHS Trust (LHS), Isobel Wells, Registered Nurse (Centre), Juliet Pearce, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs Isle of Wight NHS Trust (RHS)
Darren Cattell, CEO Isle of Wight NHS Trust (LHS), Isobel Wells, Registered Nurse (Centre), Juliet Pearce, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs Isle of Wight NHS Trust (RHS)

I think it’s important to do training here as I can stay with the community that I grew up in and give back – staying on the Island and learning was an important thing for me. I really benefited from the OU’s approach to learning – the practical nature of the content, the level of support provided by tutors and the ability to balance work and study.

Rachel Baker
Nursing Associate, Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Dr Rebecca Garcia, Associate Head of School, Nursing and Health Professions at the OU, commented:

“The OU’s Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship and Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship programmes offers an innovative and flexible delivery model, which is available 24/7 via our virtual learning environment. Combined with the practical skills that students learn on the hospital floor, it’s easy to understand why the programme is so popular.

“We’re really proud of our partnership with the Isle of Wight NHS Trust and are thrilled that our first cohorts of apprentices have graduated. Congratulations to all – it’s a huge achievement!”

Find out more about the IOW NHS Trust apprenticeships

Find out more about the OU apprenticeships


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