Nursing Associate (NMC 2018) Apprenticeship

Nursing Associate Apprenticeship

About the Course

Nursing associates have a really important role to play within the healthcare team. This important role bridges the gap between healthcare assistant and registered nurse. Nursing associates provide hands on care within a wide variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, community settings, general practice and care homes. It is a level 5 course and usually takes two years to complete. It is fully accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The learning is a mixture of hands on experience in the workplace, placements outside the workplace, and learning activities supported by the University.

After qualifying there are great opportunities to develop within the role of Nursing Associate, as well as using the qualification as a stepping stone towards becoming a registered nurse. At the end of the training apprentices will have a foundation degree and become eligible to register with the NMC, when they will then become a fully registered nursing associate.

Who is it for?

The Nursing associate apprenticeship is for healthcare workers currently employed in a healthcare setting, usually working as a healthcare assistant. It is for those who are motivated to expand their role and who want to enhance the delivery of care to patients and the public. Nursing Associate apprentices need to be open to learning new skills and knowledge. Nursing associates should be emotionally intelligent and resilient individuals, able to manage their own personal health and well-being, recognise boundaries of their practice and know when and how to access support.

The benefits to employers of investing in the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship include:

  • Enhanced skill mix within the workplace
  • Improved service delivery and patient care
  • Staff that are trained to meet the needs of the local population and the local service
  • Staff retention

Programme overview


There are currently 3 intakes a year for the nursing associate apprenticeship.

February – This is usually based at the Luton Campus. Combined employer/university interviews usually take place between August and the end of September.

June – This is usually based at the Bedford Campus. Combined employer/university interviews usually take place between Feb and the end of March.

September – This is usually based at the Luton Campus. Combined employer/university interviews usually take place between May and the end of July.

Applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks before the start date of the programme.


This is a level 5 apprenticeship.


It is expected that most apprentices will complete the qualification in the minimum time of two years.

Entry requirements

  • As a guideline, a typical offer would require a UCAS tariff score of between 32-48 points, based on the applicants level 3 studies.
  • We welcome applicants with relevant work experience.
  • On entry, nursing associate apprentices should demonstrate an ability to work at level 2 literacy and numeracy.
  • Applicants will currently, or on enrolment, be employed in a health or care role. (Nursing associate Apprentices need to be employed in a setting where they can be appropriately supervised by a registered nurse or other appropriate health or care professional).
  • Applicants need to remain employed within the workplace for the duration of the course, ideally for a minimum of 30hrs a week.
  • Applicants will need to demonstrate the ability to study a programme at academic level 4 (equivalent to first year of a degree), with the potential to progress to level 5 (equivalent to year 2 of a degree).
  • Applicants need to demonstrate the appropriate values and attitudes for the programme as part of the application process.

Qualification achieved

  • Qualifications include Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate.
  • English and Maths to Level 2 are included if not held at entry.
  • Eligibility to become a registered Nursing Associate with the NMC.

Programme components and structure

The programme is structured over three 12-week semesters, commencing in October, February and June, where apprentices complete 11 weeks of teaching and allocated assessment time. We offer two patterns of placement delivery, a weekly release of 1 day per week throughout the whole academic year, or block placements of 5 weeks over 2 periods. Alongside university teaching and placement, apprentices are also expected to spend time within their workplaces undertaking learning activities outside of their usual job role. The delivery of this can be adapted to individual employers in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council requirements for qualification as a Nursing Associate.

Practice learning

Apprentices have the opportunity to experience the role of the Nursing Associate in a variety of practice learning environments within acute NHS hospital environments, community services and within primary care to ensure learning within all four fields of nursing – adult, child, mental health and learning disability.
Off the job learning: Apprentices undertake off the job learning each week in University and also in external clinical placements, either on the day release or block placement model.

On the job learning: Apprentices will be working within their usual workplaces under the requirements of Protected Learning Time which requires participation in activities outside of the normal remits of their substantive role. Examples of this could include observing and participating in clinical tasks, shadowing other professionals or undertaking varied duties under the supervision of a registered professional.


Support is available to both employers and applicants to ensure the apprenticeship on boarding process is as smooth as possible.

Duration of course is typically 24 months.

Qualifications include Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate.

English and Maths to Level 2 are included if not held at entry.

Fee - Health and care organisations with a wage bill less than £3m will just pay £750 over two years (or £375 per annum), this is because the government funds 95% of the full fee. If you are a levy-payer then this apprenticeship will be £15,000 from your levy.

As a business of any size, you can also use Manage apprenticeship service to apply for funding from large businesses that want to fund 100% of your apprenticeship training and assessment costs.

The University of Bedfordshire is a supportive, friendly local university. Both employers and apprentices are supported by Apprenticeship coordinators, who provide regular reviews and workplace visits. The apprentice coordinators also lead and facilitate the tripartite meetings.  The University has a good Ofsted rating, with education being provided at a high standard. The university also has a widening participation policy. For the Nursing Associate apprenticeship this means we are able to accept suitable candidates onto the programme who do not have a level 2 maths and English qualification. Support is provided to achieve these whilst studying at the University, as all apprentices must have these in place before they reach the end of the apprenticeship.

The University maintains positive working relationships with our employers to ensure our apprentices have a well-rounded, positive learning experience.

Our Tweets: @uniofbeds