Strategic health authorities are to get a £25m boost to offer young people and others NHS apprenticeships.
The money will be used to create 5,000 new NHS apprenticeships by next March, more than trebling the number of NHS apprenticeships available.
It is part of prime minister Gordon Brown’s commitment to increase the number of apprenticeships by 21,000 across the public sector.
Roles will include clinical support such as dental nurses and pharmacy support workers and non-clinical posts such as IT support, estates and facilities management and catering.
Although the apprenticeships will not be restricted to younger employees, it is thought the scheme will help younger workers.
Department of Health director general for workforce Clare Chapman told HSJ: “If you look at unemployment figures, the young are disproportionately affected.
“This [scheme] enables us to go to a group of people that are disproportionately affected so the service wins as well as the community.”
Ms Chapman said finding clinical as well as non-clinical apprenticeship posts had been “one of the difficult nuts to crack” but this had been achieved with the help of NHS Employers.
The national leadership advisory committee is to meet today and will report to secretary of state Andy Burnham on service needs.
The scheme has the support of the trade unions.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The funding to create 5,000 new NHS apprenticeships is the right move at the right time.
“The public sector has an important role to play in supporting people through the recession. Young people in particular are being hit hard and are struggling to get even near the jobs ladder.”