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Higher Apprenticeship

Nursing Associate

Developed in partnership with NHS trusts and other health and care partners, the creation of the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship is a landmark innovation for the nursing and care professions.

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What is the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship?

Consisting of learning in both academic and practice settings, the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship equips learners with the skills and professional competence to support the delivery of high quality care, both now and in the future.

Delivered over two years, this programme is intended to be a self-standing Level 5 qualification. However, it can also provide the basis for further study, including the BSc (Hons) in Nursing and the Nursing Degree Apprenticeship, both of which are available at University of Gloucestershire.

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.

This higher apprenticeship is delivered through a blended approach consisting of learning in both academic and practice settings. Theoretical content is taught at the university and includes 41 study days, per year. The first year begins with a two-week introductory block.

For three days per week, apprentices are based in their own place of work, or they can be rotated to different departments depending on their employer’s needs. They also get to spend a full five week block per semester on an ‘away’ placement with a host organisation. This mix gives apprentices the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test in a variety of settings, as well as in their own workplace.

This programme is regulated by:

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The Nursing Associate role

A comparison of the roles and responsibilities of a nursing associate versus a registered nurse (source: NMC)

Nursing AssociateRegistered Nurse
Be an accountable professionalBe an accountable professional
Promoting health and preventing ill healthPromoting health and preventing ill health
Provide and monitor careProvide and evaluate care
Working in teamsLeading and managing nursing care and
working in teams
Improving safety and quality of careImproving safety and quality of care
Contributing to integrated careCoordinating care
Assessing needs and planning care

What are Higher Apprenticeships?

Higher apprenticeships are a fantastic way to upskill employees and train new staff. They contribute to improved competitiveness and productivity, as well as increased staff retention.

Apprentices study for higher level qualifications alongside working. As such, they spend at least 6 working hours each week carrying out ‘off-the-job training’ where they study for their qualification and gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are required to successfully complete the apprenticeship.

Large employers can use their apprenticeships levy to pay for apprenticeship training. Smaller firms can claim up to 95 per cent of these costs from the Government. This means apprenticeships are a cost-effective choice for both the employer and learner.


“I have learnt so much in the last two years. Things about myself and who I am as a person, as well as knowledge and skills to take to my practice.”

Trainee Nursing Associate, April 2022 cohort

City Campus

Teaching for this apprenticeship will start at Oxstalls Campus, then transfer to the new City Campus in Gloucester in the 2024-25 academic year. This provides time to ensure a smooth transition and familiarisation with the new facilities for all.

Our new City Campus is partly funded by Gloucester’s successful £20million ‘Levelling Up’ bid, the building is being refurbished to an exceptionally high standard and will include state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for all our learners.

We have also secured a landmark £29million in funding from Barclays linked to our commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals: to recruit a higher proportion of UK-domiciled young BAME students; widen access, engagement and participation for students from deprived areas; and to reduce gas and electricity CO2 emissions as part of its commitment to Net Zero by 2030.  

As part of its decarbonisation drive, the University has also secured £3.3million funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, delivered by Salix. The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK.  

As well as training the region’s future nurses and teachers, it is estimated that over its lifetime, City Campus will add over £300million of direct and indirect value to the county’s economy, as well as more than 4,000 jobs. 

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Employer and learner support

Learners have a personal tutor throughout their apprenticeship, as well as a learner coach who conducts reviews and supports them towards successful completion. They are also 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.

Learner benefits

All apprentices have access to:
· experienced professionals, who are experts in their field
· state-of-the-art facilities
· all university libraries and IT and facilities
· discounted travel with Stagecoach across the South West network
· an NUS card offering great discounts at restaurants and high street stores
· a vibrant social scene complete with bars, sports clubs, gyms and leisure facilities

View our apprenticeships FAQ guide and discover answers to the most commonly asked questions about higher and degree apprenticeships.

Entry requirements

Identifying candidates who will succeed on the apprenticeship is a joint activity between the employer and the University. While the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that applicants meet entry requirements rests with the University, applicants for this programme are normally nominated by their employer.

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