Health Education England has secured funding for the first 200 doctor apprenticeships to start over the next two years.
The new medical doctor degree apprenticeship scheme was approved last summer and will see students employed for the duration of their medical degree, doing ‘on the job’ learning on clinical placements in addition to attending medical school.
The funding would help make improve access to careers in medicine and bring more frontline medics into the NHS, Health Education England (HEE) said.
Apprenticeships, which will be assessed in a two-year pilot programme could provide an alternative route into a medical career as well as delivering a diverse workforce that is more representative of local communities. HEE added
Places will be five-years long and up to £50,000 will be available to employers for each apprentice they take on, on top of usual funding provided to medical schools.
It will include Medical Licensing Assessment, allowing apprentices to apply for ‘provisional registration’ with the GMC and a place on a UK foundation training programme on completion.
Professor Liz Hughes, medical director for undergraduate education at HEE, said: ‘I am delighted with the announcement of this new funding to enable healthcare employers to deliver up to 200 more doctors to grow our domestic pipeline in a way that supports widening access and participation as well as encouraging employment within hard to recruit areas.
‘This funding boost will help to support hundreds of apprentices to gain the skills they need and earn while they learn.’
She added HEE would work with employers to develop innovative models for delivering the scheme and share lessons learned from existing healthcare apprenticeships.
Health minister Will Quince said: ‘These 200 new apprenticeships give people the opportunity to earn as they learn and are an important step towards removing barriers, ensuring anyone with the ability, passion and determination can be a doctor – regardless of their background.’
The scheme, which was consulted on last year had been met with scepticism from doctors unions who said questions remained about how the scheme would work, its impact on other medical school training and its role in addressing the workforce crisis.