The North West’s first cohort of BSc (Hons) Nursing Apprentices are celebrating their graduation from Edge Hill University.
Apprentices on a trailblazing new adult nursing degree have excelled in their studies, with many of them already working in their new profession.
Pamela Jane Lea said she and many of her fellow students could not have achieved their dream of becoming nurses if not for the new course, created thanks to a partnership between Edge Hill and St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (STHK).
The 54-year-old from St Helens said:
“I always wanted to be a nurse, a care giver instead of a care supporter, but it was just never the right time. It would have been too much of a risk to leave a permanent job.
“I probably wouldn’t have been able to retrain in my dream profession if it wasn’t for this opportunity so I’m really thankful to Edge Hill and the Trust for giving me this opportunity.”
Pam’s achievement is even more impressive considering she was diagnosed with dyslexia during her studies. Her hard work paid off when she secured her first nursing job as a staff nurse in the Bevan Court Frailty Unit at Whiston Hospital.
The partnership has enabled STHK employees like Pamela – who has worked for the Trust for 30 years – to continue in their current roles part-time, while studying for their degree with Edge Hill. And thanks to the Apprenticeship Levy scheme they continued to receive their full-time salary.
Kate Jones, Head of Apprentices in Edge Hill’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions, said:
“This course has been an amazing opportunity for a group of people who might not otherwise have been able to realise their career ambitions. They did extremely well both academically and in practice.
“Their employer ensured the students could continue on the programme even during the pandemic when the NHS was under real strain. And the students equally made sure they made the most of this opportunity.”
The Trust presented the team of newly qualified nurses with commemorative fob watches to congratulate them on their significant achievement.
Teresa Keyes, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality at the Trust, said the scheme ensures there are no financial barriers for prospective students:
“We’re really proud of them. This has been a real challenge as well as an opportunity, and they’ve done really well – 7 out of 13 got First Class Honours degrees.
“This is just one way we can invest in our staff. These trailblazing students are leaving a legacy by opening up a career pathway for future aspiring nurses. They’ve set the bar high.”
To find out more about studying at Edge Hill, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/study.