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‘Apprenticeships offer routes into more than 350 NHS careers’

7 February 2022

CEO Dr Navina Evans

This week, marks National Apprenticeship Week, a celebration of our NHS people working across a vast range of roles and areas in health and care.

Our apprentices make a huge contribution to the delivery of essential services across the NHS in front line clinical and non-clinical roles. Health apprenticeships are continually expanding across all professions at all levels, and include areas such as nursing, advanced clinical practice, senior healthcare support, medical engineering, pharmacy and business administration to name a few.

More than 24,500 apprentices started training in 178 different apprenticeship standards across the NHS, in 2020/21 - a rise of 20% since 2019/20 and the largest ever number per year.

This week is a celebration of the valuable contribution each and every one of them has made to the pandemic. They have made real difference, and are still making a difference, to the continuing delivery of care and clinical services, during COVID.

Over the last year, we have continued to develop innovative support for employers to ensure our apprenticeship programme remains on course despite Covid19. This has included supporting employees in developing their Skills for Life (numeracy, literacy, digital skills) with over 7,000 learners nationally accessing HEE funded functional skills software.

Celebrating three years of nursing associates last week is another important milestone for our NHS people. In three short years, it is great that over 11,000 nursing associates have signed off against training standards, meaning they are eligible to register with the NMC.  Nursing associates are also making a real impact in the delivery of healthcare during the pandemic in both health and social care settings working as part of a team alongside registered nurses and allied health professionals.  

When we look at just how far the role has come in such a short space of time, we really should take stock and be proud of our achievements – and those of our nursing associates themselves. I can think of so many incredible stories that have taken place in this time and so many inspiring individuals who have been allowed to shine as a result of the role, some who have moved on to become registered nurses, others that have developed within the role itself.

At HEE we are keen to do all we can to develop new roles like nursing associates and apprenticeships in health and care to widen access into health and care careers, ensuring the workforce reflects its local populations.

Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a surge in the number of people visiting the HEE Health Careers website as well as a jump in applications for health care education and training courses across the country showing that “more want to play their part” as the health service faces its greatest ever challenge responding and recovering from COVID. We need to harness this opportunity to develop the apprenticeship workforce and are keen to hear from stakeholders interested in working with us to help ensure we have a well trained and experienced workforce for the future.

Best Wishes


Dr Navina Evans

Chief Executive 

Health Education England

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This Page was last updated on: 7 February 2022