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Health students combine work and study on degree apprenticeships

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Degree apprenticeships are a great way of gaining a qualification while also working and earning.

Devina DicksonDegree apprenticeships are a great way of gaining a qualification while also working and earning.

The University of Greenwich offers apprenticeships in construction, engineering, science and healthcare.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2022, the university spoke to some of those involved in health apprenticeships about their experiences.

Devina Dickson, pictured, is currently in the final year of a two-year BSc Hons Mental Health Nursing Apprenticeship at Greenwich. Her employer is the South West London and St George’s Foundation Trust. Before starting at Greenwich she completed a Foundation Degree Apprenticeship as an Assistant Practitioner.

“I chose to do this apprenticeship as I am incredibly passionate about my role as an Assistant Practitioner,” said Devina “Training as a Registered Mental Health Nurse is a natural progression in my career. I love the work I do and find it extremely rewarding.

“The apprenticeship was an amazing opportunity for me as it was not financially viable for me to study independently. It means that I can continue working in my current role.

“I have found the University of Greenwich to be an excellent provider. There are some amazing lecturers, who are really interested and invested in their students. They encourage student involvement and are very supportive. The campus is beautiful with lots of green space and the pastoral service is very good. IT is efficient and my personal tutor is supportive.”

Gemma Duffy agrees that the Mental Health Nursing Apprenticeship is a great option. She added: “I chose to do a Degree Apprenticeship as I could not afford to do my degree any other way. I can earn while I learn and there are no student loans. I have had the full support of my base team at my employer, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, who I have been with for 15 years, as well as the Nurse Education Team who are promoting this new way of learning.”

Liese Dallarda is a Team Manager for Bexley mental health services, who works closely with Gemma. She added:I have known Gemma since she was 16 and working in her previous roles at Bexley. Since undertaking the Mental Health Nursing Apprenticeship role Gemma has grown in confidence, and her knowledge and skills have improved.”

Georgie Saville works at Darent Valley Hospital while studying for her Midwifery BSc Hons Degree Apprenticeship.

She said: “I have always contemplated doing my midwifery training, especially having worked as a Maternity Support Worker (MSW) for many years. However the timing was never quite right with family commitments.

“One of the great advantages of the apprenticeship programme is having some knowledge of the profession before committing to the course. Working as a MSW I saw first-hand how hard midwives work, what the job entails, the shift patterns, the highs, and the lows. To become a qualified midwife will be a huge development in my career and will open further opportunities in the future.”

Higher and degree apprenticeships are a great way to learn, combining practical, hands-on experience and splitting time between university and work.

New apprenticeships are suitable for school leavers looking for alternative routes towards a degree, as well as employees looking to progress in their careers.

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships.