THE Isle of Wight NHS Trust and The Open University are collaborating to deliver a three-year apprenticeship programme.

The programme ­— with an investment of more than £2 million from the Trust's apprenticeship levy ­— will increase the number of registered nurses and nursing associates on the Island.

With more than 100 nursing vacancies on the Island, the programme will widen access and boost the skills shortage by providing crucial training and employment.

The Open University ­— which trains more health and social care staff than any other education provider ­— will deliver the apprenticeship-standard qualification, helping to develop the IW NHS Trust's workforce and keep skills local.

Dr Sally Boyle, head of school for health wellbeing and social care at The Open University said: "Open University nursing students and apprentices are often recruited locally, with established roots in the community, and generally remain with their local hospitals once they have qualified as nurses.

"The apprenticeship programme is vital to the retention and expansion of the nursing workforce on the Island."

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