The Institute for Apprenticeships has agreed that postgraduate pre-registration qualifications, as well as BSc (Hons) degrees, can be used in degree apprenticeships that form entry routes into the healthcare professions.
The rule change recognises the significance of postgraduate routes into physiotherapy and other professions. It should also increase the value of degree apprenticeships for meeting workforce supply needs.
The change follows successful lobbying of the institute by the CSP on behalf of the allied health professions (AHPs), with support from the nursing profession.
‘The outcome is currently specifically for AHPs and nursing,’ said Sally Gosling, an assistant director at the CSP. ‘However, it could also set a precedent for degree apprenticeships for other occupations in other sectors.’
Master’s degrees have been an entry route into physiotherapy for over 20 years, and have become increasingly popular, she said. A fifth of new physiotherapists currently qualify through postgraduate study after completing a first degree in a related subject. The proportion is higher in some other allied health professions.
‘Enabling degree apprenticeships to reflect established qualifications should appeal to employers and education providers,’ said Dr Gosling. ‘It will provide a fast-track route through the apprenticeship, and should increase the flexibility with which the apprenticeship can be delivered from early 2019.
However, approval is still needed from the Institute for Apprenticeships for how apprentices will be assessed at the end of the physiotherapist degree apprenticeship. The tariff paid to universities to provide the apprenticeship also needs to be set.
‘Once these elements are finalised, employers and education providers will be able to offer the apprenticeship as an exciting new entry route into the profession,’ said Dr Gosling.
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