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Apprenticeship pilot with Virgin Care turning Jayne Pattison's dream of becoming nurse into reality

By John Nurden

A working mum’s dream of becoming a registered nurse is becoming a reality, thanks to a new style of apprenticeship being trialled in the county.

Jayne Pattison, currently an associate practitioner with Virgin Care’s community nursing team at Sittingbourne, has signed up for the company’s nursing degree apprenticeship scheme.

The programme, provided through its training arm The Learning Enterprise, is being piloted in Kent with plans to extend it to other Virgin Care services.

Single mum Jayne Pattison has enrolled on a degree apprenticeship to become a nurse
Single mum Jayne Pattison has enrolled on a degree apprenticeship to become a nurse

Single mum Jayne, 46, from Sheerness, said: “This is a chance to move forward in my career while getting paid at the same time.”

Having supported her 24-year-old daughter and 22-year-old son through university she is now concentrating on her own career.

But she didn’t have the money or time for full-time study.

She said: “I always dreamed of becoming a nurse as a girl but I left school without the relevant qualifications.”

She took her first step as a carer and became an associate practitioner with Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust before moving to Virgin Care in 2016, working from Kent Science Park.

Jayne said: “I enjoy the excitement of not knowing what each day holds and meeting different people every day. I am so excited to start this new chapter of my career.”

“I always dreamed of becoming a nurse as a girl but I left school without the relevant qualifications...” - Jayne Pattison

Virgin Care’s nursing degree apprenticeship is run in partnership with Greenwich University and starts on Monday, March 18, just days after National Apprenticeship Week.

Jayne will spend three days a week at university and the remaining two working in the community across Swale.

At the end she will gain a BSc Honours degree in nursing and be allowed to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Virgin Care, which provides adult community care and runs the wards at Sittingbourne and Sheppey hospitals, is one of the first employers in the country to offer the new scheme.

Samantha Kane of Virgin Care
Samantha Kane of Virgin Care

Virgin Care’s people director Samantha Kane said: “Apprenticeships are an important part of how we invest in our people and are crucial in securing the future of our services by growing future talent from within.

"They provide a great path for people at any stage of their career.”

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