Job prospects in UK up for 500 RP nursing grads

Filipino graduates of nursing courses are lining up for admission to England’s Anglia Ruskin University for a training program called Student Work Placement Scheme(Swops) that gives them employment prospects in the United Kingdom.

Tony Stringer, head of the International Student Advisors Ltd. Philippines, Inc.(ISALPI), said an initial batch of 500 nursing graduates would be admitted under the program. ISALPI is the prime mover behind Swops.

According to its website, Anglia Ruskin University has a total student population of 30,000, making it one of the largest universities in UK. It also has 16,000 part-time students, making it the most important provider of part-time higher education in the UK, after the Open University.

Under Swops program, aspiring Filipinos who want to work in the UK can use this plan to give them the opportunity to study for a degree in Health and Social Care or a combined NVQ/First Line Management qualification.

While studying for their two-year course in BS in Health and Social Care the students, as part of their course will be required to work as care givers that will provide them the learning opportunities and support that their course of study will require.

Its main campuses are in Cambridge and Chelmsford, an hour drive from London. It is offering the degree course to groups of 12 to 15 students who will attend regular workshops throughout the two years, combined with work based assignments and continuous managed and development provided by the placement organization

Though they will have to pay for their initial costs in their placements, their salary as care givers will cover the costs of both living expenses in the UK and the full cost of the course.

Under Swops, the nursing graduates would have to undergo a two-year course in healthcare to equip them with additional qualifications and skills on palliative and mental health while giving them a chance to earn around 2,000 pounds a month, or an equivalent of roughly P183,000.

"This is an earn-and-learn program," Stringer said in a news briefing Thursday in Manila.

The salary for health workers in the United Kingdom ranges from 5.52 pounds to 9 pounds per hour.

The nursing graduates from the Philippines, Stringer said, would be assigned as carers in nursing homes in UK. Because of the ageing population, UK would need “many thousands" of nurses in the next five to 10 years, he said.

"Initially carer would be their work because that's part of the training, but it doesn't mean they are domestic helpers since their work of place would be the commercial nursing homes," explained Simon Paice, office manager for ISALPI.

The nurses would be allowed to work for more than 20 hours a week to give them enough time to earn to cover their expenses while studying.

Stringer admitted that the deployment of Filipino nurses in the past two years showed a decline following the implementation of stricter requirements for workers from non-European Union member countries.

“Filipino nurses are much sought after nurses in the UK but it has been difficult now [because of the new policy]," Stringer said.

For those interested in the program, the requirements include: a degree in nursing, good English communications and payment of 2,500 pounds (P229,000) to cover the cost of their visa, airfare, tuition, food and lodging.

The inclusion of other health care workers such as physical therapists, midwives and caregivers into the Swops program is being worked out, Stringer said.

The health workers also have the chance to be employed in hospitals in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

For inquiries, Isalpi holds office at Room 417, 4th floor The Peninsula Court 8735, Paseo de Roxas, Makati. It can be contacted at telephone number 8140242.

- Marie Neri, GMANews.TV