Up to 8,000 nursing apprentices will be trained in the next four years under new Government plans to boost nurse numbers.
The apprenticeships provide a route into nursing where trainees can “earn as they learn” rather than take on a full-time degree.
Those signing up receive a salary and have their tuition costs paid, becoming a qualified nurse after four years, rather than the three it would normally take.
The NHS receives £8,300 per placement per year to meet the costs of taking on apprentices, including staffing costs while apprentices are undertaking education and training.
Latest figures show the number of people looking for information on nursing on the NHS careers website rose by 138 per cent between March and June.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "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.
"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."
Employers in England will also benefit from a new payment announced in July 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, up until January 31 next year.
NHS and social care employers currently train roughly 1,000 nurse apprentices every year.
The Department of Health and Social Care said a package worth up to £172 million will enable healthcare employers to take on up to 2,000 nursing degree apprentices every year over the next four years.
Mike Adams, Royal College of Nursing director for England, said: "This increase in places is a welcome step and we hope it will make a career in nursing more accessible for those fortunate enough to secure a place.
"It does, however, fall short of the wider investment needed to educate enough registered nurses for the future, ensuring health and care services have the staff needed.
"It is also the case that a full-time, three-year nursing degree remains the fastest way to deliver a registered nurse through education.”
Nurses were among thousands of NHS workers who took to the streets across the UK on Saturday to demand better wages for staff.