A new apprenticeship scheme, offering qualifications including a foundation degree and an opportunity to progress onto a Nursing apprenticeship degree is being launched in west Norfolk to help the next generation of aspiring nurses achieve their career aspirations.The scheme known as the ‘West Norfolk Cohort’ aims to attract potential nursing students to the area along with supporting existing health or social care assistants to train to become registered nurses.NSFT is partnering with The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust and University of Suffolk to offer the joint scheme. The programme will be delivered locally in the hope to attract more people to consider a career into nursing in the west Norfolk area.The new scheme offers opportunities for existing staff or new recruits , to complete an 18-month higher apprenticeship, foundation degree. This course is being delivered by the University of Suffolk and is due to start in June with recruitment to places opening up from next week (March). Upon completion of the Foundation Degree Apprenticeship, successful staff will then have an opportunity to access the Nursing degree.Potential candidates will be able to learn more during a drop-in session at The Inspire Centre, at the QEH in King’s Lynn on Saturday, March 4, from 10am to 4pm.Dawn Collins, NSFT’s Deputy Director of Nursing, explained: “Our Trust is invested in developing our own next generation of staff. Throughout the NHS we are all dealing with a shortage of trained staff and so we need to roll our sleeves up and offer every innovative opportunity we can to ensure we secure our NHS for the future. “Working in partnership with our NHS colleagues is really important as together we can offer a far better experience for the candidates who do come through as part of the West Norfolk Cohort.“But as well as offering exciting opportunities for people who are at the beginning of their NHS careers, we value those who may have worked as assistant practitioners, healthcare assistants or as social care staff for some time and we want to encourage them to take the next step in their career pathways and give them the chance to further develop.”Emma Hardwick, Director of Nursing at the QEH, said: “Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career and west Norfolk offers a wealth of opportunities for people to progress and make a difference.“We are pleased to work with our partners to offer this exciting opportunity and ensure the high standard care for our future patients.”Existing or newly recruited workers will undertake face-to-face learning before demonstrating what they have learned on the wards. They will also have the opportunity to continue their employment as an assistant practitioner or continue their studies to become a registered nurse.Debbie Beresford, Deputy Director of Nursing, from NCH&C, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for nursing students to get experience of the world of work and to recognise the opportunities available to them. NCH&C are really excited to be supporting this project and offering these opportunities for the future workforce of the NHS.”For more information on the drop-in session contact Jane Stringer, Talent for Care Careers Facilitator on 01603 421564 firstname.lastname@example.org.