The Department of Health and Social Care has announced new funding for nursing apprenticeships in England.

The new government package, worth £172m, will be used to trains thousands more nursing degree applicants, with up to 2,000 nursing apprentices to be trained every year for the next four years.

According to the DHSC, interest in health careers has surged, with the amount of people looking for information on nursing on the NHS careers website increasing 138% between March and June.

Nursing degree apprenticeships help individuals to train to nationally recognised standards and earn money as they learn these skills.

As part of the new funding, NHS and other healthcare employers will be given £8,300 per placement per year for both new and existing apprenticeships.

The funding will help employers to meet the costs of taking on apprentices, including staffing cost while apprentices undertake education and training.

In addition to this funding, employers in England will also be eligible to receive a new payment, announced last month, of £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over.

“I’m thrilled to see a rising interest in nursing careers, but we must ensure this fantastic career is truly diverse and open to all,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

“Nursing apprenticeships allow students to earn as they learn and this new funding will enable healthcare employers to hire thousands more, helping us to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament,” he added.