Apprentices have a big role to play

The NHS in England is currently short of almost 40,000 nurses, and the number of hospital beds needed continues to increase each year. The service is facing higher rates of long-term health conditions, staff shortages and increased waiting times – there is an urgent need for well-trained professionals to enter the field and help combat these worsening problems.

The NHS budget increased to £139.3bn this year, a 4.8% increase on the previous year. Despite this uplift, the cost of new equipment, better facilities and plugging the skills gap continues to grow.

The challenge of Britain’s changing health landscape, compounded by the predicted £3.6bn shortfall in social care funding by 2025, makes the need to upskill public finance professionals in the health sector all the more vital.

While the need for broader policy solutions is clear, it is crucial that the NHS is able to effectively manage the limited resources currently within its gift and benefit from the ability to access talented employees.

That is where programmes like the NHS Professional Accountancy Apprenticeship Pathway come in.

The AAT and the CIPFA have joined forces to provide a path for aspiring finance professionals to work within the NHS. NHS Professional Accountancy apprenticeships are designed for all levels of work experience and educational background. Whether you’re a graduate trainee or a working accountant seeking a professional qualification there is a pathway for you.

The apprenticeships begin at Level 3 (Assistant Accountant Apprenticeship) and Level 4 (Accounting Technician Apprenticeship), with the highest entry point (Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeship) resulting in the designation of Chartered Public Finance Accountant (CPFA).

In addition to choosing your entry point, each apprenticeship can be tailored to your individual experience and career aspirations. If you are already working within a team, the pathway is flexible enough to prepare you to deliver high-quality service and develop the skills needed for your specific role.

With high patient demand and resulting financial constraints on the NHS, there are more opportunities than ever to get involved in reforming the current system through finance. Qualified accountants will be at the heart of the changes to come – alleviating stress in the system, delivering transformation, and ultimately, supporting the vital frontline care provided by the NHS every day.

If you’re interested in finding our more about the NHS Professional Accountancy Apprenticeship Pathway visit the website or call +44 020 7543 5600.

• Chris Glennie, CIPFA’s Director of Education and Lifelong Learning and Rob Alder, Business Development Manager, AAT