The UK Government has given a £25m grant to the National Health Service (NHS) to create 5,000 new NHS apprenticeships by March 2010.

The funding is part of the government’s commitment to increase the number of apprenticeships by 21,000 across the public sector.

The new apprentices will receive real “on the job” training, simultaneously improving their qualifications and aiding the NHS workforce, the government said.

Clinical support roles such as dental nurses and pharmacy support workers as well as non-clinical roles such as IT support, facilities management and catering will be included in the apprenticeships.

The NHS currently has 1,500 apprentices and new recruits will join by March 2010, the government said.