The University of Derby is set to launch the very first Level 7 apprenticeship for occupational health (OH) nurses this summer, reports Personnel Today.
The launch of the new apprenticeship will be coronavirus restrictions permitting.
Senior lecturer in occupational health at the University of Derby, Neil Loach, told attendees at the recent Health and Wellbeing at Work show that the degree-level apprenticeship would provide a new pathway into the career. It would also allow companies to put levy funds towards occupational health training.
Loach confirmed that his university is going for Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) validation, adding it is the first university to do so.
“This is likely to happen in July, and basically, where employers are paying into the apprenticeship levy they’ll be able to send prospective students on a Level 7 course.
“It is only Level 7 at the moment and that’s the way that I think it will probably end up staying; that is the motivation behind it.”
Loach added that it will lead on to Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) registration afterwards, and an end-point assessment. This will secure payment for the apprenticeship levy to be returned to the employer.
The National School of Occupational Health has been working on devising an OH apprenticeship standard and pathway for some time, together with healthcare e-learning platform Skills for Health.
It’s hoped that more employers will be inspired to engage with OH and boost their involvement in OH nurse education and training – something that’s currently under strain. This would allow more people to enter the profession, at a time when demand is on the rise for workplace-based health support.
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