COUNCIL bosses have pledged to invest more than £1million into getting qualifications for care workers and nurses.

Essex County Council leader David Finch has launched the Nightingale Social Care Bursary and Nursing Apprenticeship Scheme.

It will see £1.1million in funding allocated to supporting training opportunities and qualifications in the care profession.

The Social Care Bursary, will enable people from the most deprived communities to achieve qualifications in the field or support existing care workers to achieve more of them.

The bursary will help 85 people already working in the sector without a relevant qualification recognised diploma to support their role.

On top of this, 110 employees will be able to undertake an accredited certificate which will support their professional development.

The Nursing Apprenticeship will support 30 adult social care workers to become registered nurses.

The county council will fully fund these 30 nursing degree placements which will be delivered through Essex and Anglia Ruskin universities.

Mr Finch said: “This year marks the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, and I cannot think of a more fitting person to celebrate at this moment.

“To honour her legacy, and the fantastic work of our carer workers in Essex through this crisis, I am setting up the Nightingale Social Care Bursary and Nursing Apprenticeship Scheme that will support more than 200 people from across Essex.

“I cannot thank our health and social care workers enough, especially over the past few months, but I hope this more than £1 million commitment goes some way towards helping our most dedicated workers to progress even further in this valuable field, while attracting more of our residents to take up this fantastic profession.”

Cabinet member for health and adult social care John Spence said the funding would make a “tremendous difference”.

He said: “Both schemes are enabling us to reach out to those who might never have had such an opportunity. “