Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) is delighted to have been recommended for approval by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) to deliver Nursing Degree & Nursing Degree Apprenticeships across Adult Nursing and Mental Health pathways. The NMC has also recommended the approval of a Trainee Nurse Associate programme.
University Centre Somerset (UCS) is part of Bridgwater & Taunton College and has three campuses across Somerset. Degree courses are validated by some of the UK’s most prestigious universities including Plymouth University, Oxford Brookes and the Open University. The nursing programmes are validated by University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).
These nursing degree pathways enhance the degree provision at UCS and have been developed in direct response to Somerset’s skills gaps in nursing.
Louise Rowley, Vice Principal, said “This is groundbreaking, we are the first college in the country to be recommended to deliver Nursing Degrees and Nursing Apprenticeships. The shortage of nursing skills in Somerset has long been recognised, in collaboration with health and social care employers across Somerset and UWE we aim to develop and build programmes to fill skills shortages, these degree programmes are the first step in turning the vision into a reality.”
Local MP Rebecca Pow visited the College on Friday 9 July to meet with those involved in the project and for a tour of the new Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, she commented “This is a really important step for Somerset. Education has the power to transform lives and the collaboration between the College, the NHS and UWE represents an excellent opportunity for our community. These programmes unlock career pathways for students, which in turn, will benefit local people through the provision of highly qualified health care professionals and excellent career pathways which will enable people to have long and rewarding careers locally.”
Ethna Bashford, Director of Patient Care – Professional Practice and Standards at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted with this news, which is a real landmark moment to provide nurse training locally in Somerset.
“We are confident that the provision of local degree courses will encourage so many more people in Somerset to consider a career in nursing, which will be of huge benefit to the county’s health and social care organisations, by helping us to address our nursing vacancies and having our own local supply of registered nurses.
“Local people will not have to leave Somerset to access nurse training as this local programme will provide great career opportunities in this county for them to access.’
“We see this is just the beginning as this partnership with University Centre Somerset provides us with an opportunity in the future to potentially train students in other branches of nursing, as well as considering courses to train allied health professionals.”
The first cohort of Nursing Degree Apprentices is due to start this year, while the full-time Nursing degree will begin in September 2022. Prospective learners require a minimum of Level 2 functional skills in maths and English, or equivalent, and a suitable Level 3 qualification such as A Levels, BTEC or NVQ.
For those looking to train as a nurse but who don’t currently hold formal qualifications such as those mentioned above, a one-year Nursing & Midwifery Access to HE Diploma is designed to provide a route to university-level study. Learners who begin an Access to HE course at UCS in September 2021 will be ideally placed to progress into the BSc (Hons) Nursing degree in September 2022.
The new nursing programmes add to UCS’s already exciting and varied higher education offer. Degrees include Early Childhood Studies, Creative Arts, Animal Management and Wildlife Conservation, Computing, Health and Social Care, Engineering and Sport. UCS also offers a range of professional qualifications to aid career progression in areas such as HR, Management, Counselling and Accounting. To find out more, visit www.somerset.ac.uk