Nursing numbers in the North West are set to receive a welcome boost thanks to a successful bid for government funds by Choose Cumbria partner, the University of Cumbria.
The university will be offering around 150 new nurse degree apprenticeships to trainees by September 2018.
Universities from across England were invited to submit bids to the Higher Education Funding Council for England for projects aiming to increase the take up of newly developed degree apprenticeships.
The University of Cumbria proposes to work with NHS trusts and colleges across the region to improve routes for people who want to become a registered nurse.
"Our success in winning the funding is excellent news," said Dr Louise Nelson, head of department for health, nursing and professional practice.
"Alongside our partners, we will now be able to recruit 150 additional apprentices, eventually delivering a large cohort of qualified and registered nurses into the sector."
The funding will be used to establish a project team that will work with partner organisations to identify barriers and solutions to accessing nursing degree apprenticeships.
Funded from now until March 2018, the aim of the project is to enable the recruitment of an additional 150 apprentices to the University of Cumbria’s registered nurse degree apprenticeship by September 2018.
Partner organisations include Choose Cumbria partner, Furness College in Barrow, Lakes College West Cumbria, Southport College, Bury College, Nelson and Colne College.
NHS trusts involved include the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
Cumbria's bid is one of 27 projects from around the country to be awarded a total of £4.9m to develop new degree apprenticeships in a range of professional fields.
Degree apprenticeships bring together higher education study and paid work.
They allow apprentices to work at least 30 hours a week and earn a degree alongside their employment. In November last year, another University of Cumbria-led group secured funding to develop the UK's first degree apprenticeship in policing.