Becoming a doctor means toiling hard for years in medical school, completing an accredited medical degree, and meeting training and internship criteria. Besides the effort, the cost of a medical degree in a UK university could burn a hole in your wallet. But hold on, you could become a doctor by taking an alternative route.

Health Education England (HEE), the NHS recruitment and training body, is all set to launch a new Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship in 2024. Apprentices do not need to pay any tuition fees; instead, they will earn a wage during the training period. The applications for the pilot scheme will likely open in September 2024.

Apprenticeship trainees must meet the same standards as the professionals traversing the traditional medical school route. With this initiative, careers in medicine will be more accessible for aspiring professionals. At the same time, the NHS will be in a better place to recruit frontline medics and fulfil the increasing vacancies.

Moreover, people of different backgrounds will have a chance to get into the profession, ensuring a more diverse workforce for the NHS.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN APPRENTICESHIP AND A TRADITIONAL MEDICAL DEGREE

Of course, students seeking the apprenticeship route will want to know how it will differ from a traditional medical degree. The difference is that apprentices will have to work as training practitioners while pursuing their medical degrees. Conversely, students opting for traditional medical school do not get a salary until the completion of their degree.

But apprentices will not be considered qualified doctors from the outset. During the training phase, they will be supervised at an appropriate level according to their stage of learning. Apprentices will get training from some of the universities already teaching medical degrees.

THE QUALIFICATION QUESTION FOR APPRENTICES

The next question is whether an apprenticeship will be less qualified than a counterpart following the conventional route. People opting for alternative route will be expected to offer academic qualifications similar to those getting in through the medical school. Since employers will have specific applicant criteria, professionals will be required to possess the values and behaviours of a medical doctor.

THE APPRENTICESHIP ROADMAP

The apprenticeship will be of five-year duration, during which apprentices will have to finish off all academic elements of medical training. These include a medical degree and Licensing Assessment. Further, they will have to fulfil the General Medical Council requirements for entry onto the Medical Register. It means that apprentices will have to get through the same high-quality qualifications as traditional doctors.

THE IMPACT OF APPRENTICESHIPS ON THE NHS STANDARDS

Since Medical Doctor Apprentices will go through the same stringent requirements as medical school doctors, they will have a good impact on the NHS standards. The gold-standard apprenticeship aims to build a skilled NHS workforce and help it to address the ever-increasing demand for highly trained professionals. Additionally, it will open the benefit of a new pool of diverse talent for the NHS.

APPLICATION PROCESS FOR MEDICAL APPRENTICESHIP IN THE UK

The start date for the medical apprenticeship programme is yet to be confirmed because providers are trying to figure out how to train the professionals. The pilot scheme is expected to start in September 2024. If you want to explore the scheme, you must go through the resources like NHS Jobs and Find an Apprenticeship website for vacancies.

The medical apprenticeship programme is all set to simplify medical education and make it more affordable for students who cannot go with the traditional medical school study. Keep watching for more updates!

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