A UK first will see a Uttoxeter healthcare worker train as a nurse – thanks to a partnership funding scheme by the food and drink industry.
Kingsmill’s Stoke Bakery is funding Louise’s training as part of a new drive to redirect unused apprenticeship levy funding. The scheme will allow Louise Brown, 42, from Uttoxeter, to attend Derby University.
Louise’s training is the first of its kind in the UK to be funded by a collaboration between Health Education England, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink and British food and drink companies.
The scheme sees the companies’ own unused apprenticeship levy funds being redirected to pay to train new NHS health and social care workers.
Currently working as a healthcare assistant at Balance Street Practice, Uttoxeter, Louise will study for two years to become a Level 4 Nursing Associate – a relatively new role in the NHS which bridges the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses.
New nursing associates like Louise will help to deliver more services in local GP surgeries, taking some of the load from hospitals. Louise is the first of seven nursing associates that will have their apprenticeship training funded by the company through this scheme – and the first on the national scheme to start her training.
Mother of two boys, aged 10 and eight, Louise will attend university once a week alongside regular on-the-job training and placements. She said: “I feel so, so lucky to be benefiting from this scheme which seems to be such a clever way of moving existing funding around the system so that we can get more nurses on the ground.
“I had a place at uni some years ago and I put it on the back burner as I wanted to be around when the boys were little, but I actually feel even more passionate about doing the training now. This last year of working through Covid-19 has been really full-on, but we’ve seen just how much people need the NHS – whether that’s secondary care in hospitals or primary care here in the community.
“I’m so excited for all that’s ahead in my training and am really grateful to Kingsmill for being a part of it.”
Tim Bright, General Manager at the Kingsmill bakery in Stoke said: “Supporting our local community has always been at the absolute heart of all we do, whether that’s directly through being a good local employer, or indirectly by donating our bakery goods to those who find themselves in need, so having the opportunity to fund nurses to support and benefit the health of those in our community was always going to be an opportunity we would jump at.
“We know Louise is a much needed and welcome addition to the Balance Street team and we wish her the very best in her training.”
Liz Sahu, Relationship Manager – Apprenticeships, for Health Education England in the Midlands added: “We are very grateful to Kingsmill for their support of the NHS and particularly Balance Street Surgery, enabling Louise to progress in her career and become a Nurse Associate helping to support patient care at this very challenging time. We wish her all the very best in her training.”
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