WALES: No paid jobs for you, trained nurses are told; 'But you can work for free'.
MORE than 50 nurses graduated in North Wales yesterday but were told the only jobs going for them were unpaid.
On the day 56 people finished a three year nursing course at Bangor University, it emerged that only one has obtained full-time work.
And while it has cost Welsh taxpayers pounds 1m to train them up, there is a risk they may not end up working on wards in Wales.
The graduates were told by senior staff from the North West Wales Trust this week there were no nursing jobs available.
They were, however, told they could work as healthcare assistants - or even work unpaid on a volunteer basis for the Trust.
A number of the nurses who contacted the Daily Post anonymously expressed their disgust at the situation.
One said: "They couldn't tell us anything about the future. It is all uncertain.
"They said that, even though we had qualified in this area, if we wanted to work at Ysbyty Gwynedd, we would basically be able to do so only as attending staff or on a voluntary basis.
"We were trained as nurses so we want to work as nurses. It is like this all across North Wales. It is very, very frustrating."
The nurses were trained at a cost of pounds 20,000 each, and in most cases, their training was paid for by the Welsh Assembly government.
Richard Jones, deputy director of the nurses' union the Royal College of Nursing Wales, said: "We are working very closely with the Welsh Assembly government over the recruitment and retention of newly-qualified nurses in Wales.
"What we need to be doing is recruiting and retaining our own nurses so we don't have to, in the next couple of years, go overseas to bring staff over here.
"We should be employing our own nurses locally. So we will be looking at these specific concerns in some detail.
"There have been funding problems in NHS trusts, and we have been concerned that, while the workload is there, the money to employ people is not.
"We do encourage nurses, if it is appropriate for them, to look elsewhere if there is not work in Wales.
"But there do need to be sufficient vacancies to ensure they can consolidate their training locally."
A spokesman for the North West Wales NHS Trust said: "Graduate nurses, in common with all other graduates, have no guarantee of employment on completion of a university course.
"Staff from the trust, together with colleagues at the University of Wales, Bangor, continue to make strenuous efforts to support graduates from all the healthcare sciences in their search for employment opportunities."