When I started my nurse training, as a student I was paid a salary, which was not very much but at least we were paid and the amount went up by approximately one hundred pounds at each year of completed training. When I qualified as a staff nurse, we were paid as a 'D' Grade which were the grading structures currently in place at that time.
All our training was done on the wards and we revised in our spare time and also, we would spend time in the School of Nursing consolidating what we had learned on the wards and sitting for exams.
When I started my midwifery training, I was paid as a 'D' grade, which was honoured through our training and automatically became an 'E' grade once I had qualified as a staff midwife. Once again, we had a great deal of hands on experience on the wards and in the community learning to care for mums and babes.
I came out the other end with not only a job, but also a good salary with no student loans to pay back.
Now, the training is University based and students (both nurses and midwives) are having to obtain student loans to pay for their course, at the end of their academic training, they will have to pay back in excess of UK Pounds 65,000 and NZ dollars 80,000. This is a lot of money, especially for those students who are training and have families. Also, it appears their training will not automatically guarantee a job at the end of their four years.
I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have trained in an era where we did not have the stress of having to repay back student loans.