May 22, 2024

NTFW wants part of £283m healthcare pledge to support apprenticeships

Student of medicine examining anatomical model in laboratory

An organisation that represents work-based learning providers across Wales is urging the Welsh Government to support apprenticeships with some of the £283.126 million it has pledged for the education and training of healthcare professionals.


The National Training Federation for Wales (NTFW) has welcomed this week’s statement by Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan which pledged to maintain funding for healthcare professionals for the academic year 2024/25.


However, the pledge coincides with a £38m cut to apprenticeships proposed in the Welsh Government’s budget, which has yet to be ratified by the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru.


The NTFW, training and healthcare providers and educational institutions across Wales have warned that the severe cuts to the apprenticeship programme in Wales will have dire consequences for patient and residential care.


They estimate that the number of apprenticeship new starts in 2024-‘25 will be halved to 10,000, impacting the healthcare sector in Wales severely. It is claimed the sector is facing a 69% reduction in apprenticeship opportunities at a time when workforce challenges have never been greater.


This is because most learners who start an apprenticeship in healthcare are over the age of 25 years and future Welsh Government funding will prioritise younger learners.


Lisa Mytton, NTFW strategic director, said: “We welcome the commitment by the Minister for Health and Social Service to maintain funding for healthcare professionals, which is important to support the NHS workforce. However, it is rather short-sighted when the apprenticeship budget for the health and social care workforce is being cut.


“We urge the Minister to assist her colleague, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething, and use some of her budget to guarantee support for the health and social care workforce, an important part of the health service in Wales which is already in crisis.”


Recent analysis by the NTFW has identified that, if the Welsh Government does prioritise young people under the age of 25, there may be no new apprenticeship opportunities for those aged 25 and above in 2024-‘25.


It’s estimated that there will be 5,500 fewer apprentices in this Welsh Government priority sector, which includes health and social care, clinical healthcare, dental nursing and children’s care and learning and development.


The NTFW says it’s ironic that Health and Social Services, which has been prioritised in the draft budget through an additional investment of £929m, is the very sector which is going to be most adversely affected by the apprenticeship budget cut.


Picture caption:

The NTFW is calling for funding support for health and social care apprentices.

Lisa Mytton, the NTFW’s strategic director.