Coventry University will begin delivery of the first ever dietetic degree apprenticeship programme this month, after the BDA gave accreditation for the course.
The BDA's Education and Professional Practice team explain what an apprentice is, what the dietetic apprenticeship will entail and why this opportunity has been created now.
Najia Qureshi, Director of Education and Professional Practice at the BDA, said: "There has been a huge amount of interest in the development of the pre-registration apprenticeship as another route into the profession and we are delighted to announce that the first dietetic degree apprenticeship has been approved for delivery at Coventry University.
"Every apprentice will be guaranteed that they will receive training and education which meets the quality of the BDA Curriculum Framework 2020, since all universities in England that deliver the apprenticeship route to becoming a dietitian are accredited by the British Dietetic Association.
"We are excited about what this landmark moment means for the profession and thanks to all those involved in making this happen."
Apprentices are employees who ‘earn while they learn’. Apprentices combine on-the-job training and experience with off-the-job learning.
The dietetic degree apprenticeship is a route that will allow an individual to work as an apprentice in a dietetic setting with an income, as well as study at university to complete a dietetic degree programme.
The apprentice will have a combination of lectures, practical learning and assessments at their university, and also 1,000 hours of practice-based learning. Successful completion of the apprenticeship programme will enable application to the Health and Care Professions Council for registration to practise using the protected title ‘Dietitian’.
Employers can use the apprentice pathway to enhance their workforce supply. Apprenticeships can help meet the demands of both the current and future workforce by offering the opportunity for career progression to those already working in healthcare settings and the existing dietetic workforce.
The current level of demand for dietetic services continues to grow at a pace and we need to meet this challenge. The ability to offer different routes into the profession offers the opportunity to widen participation for potential dietetic learners and hasten the speed at which the growth can be achieved to meet service demand.
Jo Mainwaring will lead the new MSc Dietetics and Leadership course.
Jo said: "The course team is very excited to begin delivering the MSc Dietetics and Leadership. The popularity of the course has been overwhelming. The applicants bring with them a wealth of experience and the course team is excited to develop the knowledge skills and behaviours of the apprentices and learners enabling them to enter the Dietetics profession."
Nikki Smith, Dietetic Assistant Practitioner at South Warwickshire NHS Trust is one of the initial cohort on the course.
Nikki said: "I have been working towards this for some time and feel incredibly proud to now have a place on the MSc Dietetics and Leadership course.
"The apprenticeship route opens a door to dietetics that may otherwise have been closed, allowing for more diversity within the profession. I am very much looking forward to starting and excited for a future in dietetics."
You can find out more about where else you can study dietetics on the BDA course listing.