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NHS Invests in Low Skilled Workers


NHS staff with no professional qualifications will be given access to learning accounts Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced this week.

Hewitt said there would be £60m funding to continue NHS learning accounts and NVQs.

The NHS Learning Account (LA) scheme aims to help those staff who do not have a work related professional qualification develop their skills and potential and help to raise standards in the fundamentals of patient care.

It is worth up to £150 per year towards the cost of a learning/training programme.

Hewitt said: "Learning doesn't just stop at 16 or 18. The NHS can offer more career opportunities for staff than any other and there should be no obstacles preventing anyone on the first rung of the career ladder, such as healthcare assistants, becoming a senior clinician."

Unison Head of Health Karen Jennings said she was pleased to see the commitment to lifelong learning.

"The individual learning accounts scheme is also very popular among healthcare assistants and is helping them to develop within their roles and beyond. We would like to see a widening of the secondment scheme to make it easier for healthcare assistants to access nurse training," she added.

The Department for Health says that over £180m has been invested to develop staff in support roles since April 2003. Between then and March this year over 66,000 support staff undertook training to NVQ levels 2 and 3.


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