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Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship*

Developed in partnership with NHS trusts and other health and care partners, this higher apprenticeship is a landmark innovation for the nursing and care professions.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Bringing together learners from a range of healthcare backgrounds, trainee nursing associates work together to develop the skills and professional competence required to support the delivery of high quality care.

Throughout this two year apprenticeship, trainee nursing associates are required to apply their learning in their workplace, meaning they have an immediate impact on the delivery of care for patients and service users.

Areas of study

Year 1

During Year 1, learners are introduced to the fundamentals of care and develop core skills and knowledge to underpin their working practices. This includes developing strategies to support their own resilience, so that they are able to deliver the best possible care to others.

Modules in year 1

  • Fundamentals of Person Centred Care in Practice provides the foundations from which learners develop their skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in the professional arena.
  • Foundations of Anatomy and Physiology to Support Clinical Practice introduces learners to the structure and function of the human body.
  • Personal and Professional Development for Health and Wellbeing helps leaners to build a portfolio of skills and understand how to look after their own wellbeing, so they are able to deliver the best possible care to others.

Year 2

In Year 2, learners should be able to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts relating to patient care. These include risk and how to manage it in a clinical setting, the principles of shared decision making in healthcare practice, and the nurse's role in supporting individuals with long term and complex needs.

Modules in year 2

  • Care of People with Long Term and Complex Conditions addresses some difficult topics and the nurse's role in relation to them, including living with cancer and end of life transition.
  • Practice Based Learning - Managing Risk in Practice enables trainee nursing associates to identify what 'risk' is and how to manage it in the clinical environment.
  • Influencing Practice helps learners to understand the principles of service user engagement.

End Point Assessment

The compulsory end point assessment consists of two elements - an observation of practice and a professional discussion. The 60-minute observation of practice (which must take place prior to the professional discussion) is undertaken by an independent assessor in the learner’s workplace. The professional discussion assesses the trainee nursing associate’s skills, knowledge and behaviours by considering two scenarios which they must be able to relate to their practice. The end point assessment takes place after completion of years 1 and 2.

Study Style

Delivered over two years, this apprenticeship is delivered through a blended approach, consisting of learning in both academic and practice settings. Theoretical content is taught at the university over 45 study days each year. The first year begins with a two-week introductory block.

For three days per week, trainee nursing associates are based within their own workplace but they also spend an additional day per week on placement with a host organisation. This gives learners the opportunity to the test their new skills and knowledge in a variety of settings, as well as their own workplace.

As no two learners are the same, assessment is through a range of methods including essays, projects, presentations, portfolios and exams, as well as through the demonstration of clinical competence.

Support for apprentices and employers

Learners have a personal tutor who will remain a source of advice and guidance throughout their apprenticeship. They are also be supported by module tutors and our Helpzone staff, who are contactable by telephone, in person and online.

Employers are able to access our dedicated apprenticeship support team, who are here to ensure that businesses get the best from both the learner and the programme.

Entry requirements

This is a Level 5 degree apprenticeship.

Apprentices should be in full-time employment (e.g. at least employed for 30 hours per week) in a relevant healthcare role throughout the duration of their apprenticeship.

Employers may also specify that their apprentices meet additional entry requirements – this is something that can be discuss further with the university.

​*This course is 'subject to validation' which means it is going through the final stages of approval. Courses do normally get approved, but if for any reason this course does not then you would be informed by the university and we would help you find a suitable alternative.


Student focus

Ed Ford - Trainee Nursing Associate

“I’ve come with quite a lot of experience regarding mental health. I’ve gained a lot of other new skills from my general nursing (placement), which I can take back to my mental health nursing.”

Cidalia Pereira Goncalves - Trainee Nursing Associate

“I have learned how to care better for the patients, how to have a better communication with them and be more compassionate with them.”​


Graduate with a degree

Upon completion, learners achieve a foundation degree from the University of Gloucestershire.


Get registered

This qualification leads to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.


Progress to further study

Learners have the option to progress on to further study, including the Nursing Degree Apprenticeship.


There is good news for organisations of all sizes. Larger employers can utilise their Apprenticeship Levy to fund this apprenticeship (Levy funding has to be used within 24 months or it is lost to the employer). For employers with a payroll of less than £3m, there is funding support available (see below for more information).

Fewer than 50 employees where the apprentice is 16-18 years oldNo cost to employer - government funded. Incentive payment of £1,000 for taking on an under 19 year old.
Non-Levy paying employers - payroll is less than £3m.Government funds 95%. Incentive payment of £1,000 for taking on an under 19 year old.
Levy paying employers - payroll is greater than £3m.Comes out of the Levy pot.

Make an enquiry

If you want to know more, please complete the form below and a member of our team will contact you.

Contact us

Find out more about our apprenticeships.

Call +44 (0)1242 715 498​​​