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What makes Nursing Associate Apprenticeship at the University of Worcester special?

Nursing associates work with healthcare support workers and registered nurses to provide care and treatment in a wide range of health and care settings.

At the heart of the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme is flexible, authentic work-based learning, which is combined with higher level study, allowing the apprentice to ‘earn while they learn’.  The provision of an academic award is integrated with experience, practice and learning in the workplace where the apprentice has paid employment status.  

This two-year foundation degree Nursing Associate Apprenticeship will enable you to provide high quality, person-centred care across the lifespan.  As an apprenticeship it allows you to combine higher level study and alternative placements with flexible learning where the apprentice has paid employment status. 

As well as being a professional role in its own right, it is also possible to progress on to graduate level nursing.

The University of Worcester was one of the first Universities in England to develop a Nursing Associate programme in 2017, as one of the Health Education England test site courses. This exciting FdSc Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme builds on this and has been developed in collaboration with partner organisations, apprentices and service users, in response to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2018) Standards of Proficiency for Nursing Associates.



Key features

  • The apprenticeship route facilitates widening participation to higher level study. Enabling health care support workers to access Higher Education whilst continuing in paid employment.
  • As an apprentice, you will work across a variety of health and care settings supporting people of all ages and further developing your knowledge, skills and behaviours.
  • Emphasis is on learning in diverse, supportive learning environments with 50% of the course embedded in the work-base setting.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding to provide safe and effective, person-centred care for people across the lifespan.
  • The skills and simulation centre provides excellent facilities to safely practice Nursing Associate interventions in a supportive environment.
  • Opportunities for shared learning with BSc (Hons) Nursing students, through shared modules, skills and simulated learning and in the practice setting.
  • Visiting lecturers including experienced and senior clinical nurses and patients, their families and carers, provide a unique insight into their experiences of healthcare.
  • On completion of the programme there is a fully integrated end point assessment, and you will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to Register as a Nursing Associate.  You may also be eligible to apply for year 2 of our BSc (Hons) Nursing programme

Accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council

Meets the requirements of the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education: Nursing Associate (NMC 2018) Apprenticeship Standard

Ofsted Good Logo

Ofsted has rated us as a "Good Provider"

Ofsted has rated us as a "Good Provider" following the Foundation Degree Nursing Associate Apprentice inspection in 2023.

Watch more about the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship

Exterior view of Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology in Dudley

Apprenticeships in Dudley

From September 2024, you have the choice of whether to study Nursing (Adult) Degree Apprenticeship BSc or FdSc Nursing Associate Apprenticeship at our campus in Worcester or at the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology, located in Dudley (subject to NMC approval).

The courses are taught by the same experienced lecturers at both venues, but the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology will be ideal for you if you currently work near Dudley or in the wider Black County region and your employer supports you to study your apprenticeship in your local area.

Visit the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology website
Entry requirements

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

32 UCAS Tariff Points from a minimum of 1 A level and a maximum of 3 A Levels.


Equivalent Level 3 qualifications e.g.

BTEC National Diploma

NVQ level 3

Access to Higher Education Diploma

To meet the requirements of the Education and Funding Skills Agency (ESFA) and be eligible to undertake the end point assessment Nursing Associate apprentices must have:

GCSE grade C/4 or ESFA approved level 2 equivalent in Maths and English

Apprentices’ whose first language is not English must have a minimum standard of English at IELTS 6 (with no less than 5.5 in any component).

It is desirable that applicants have evidence of study undertaken within the last 5 years. 

Apprentices will be required to demonstrate health and character sufficient to ensure safe and effective practice.  This includes confirmation of a satisfactory Enhanced DBS and occupational health clearance from your employing organisation.

Work-based entry requirements

Under UK Government requirements, Higher Level apprentices are normally employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week and must have the right to live and work in the UK. 

All apprentices must be employed in a health and care setting with an identified Trust partner or Independent provider in a healthcare role and supported by their employer.

The support of the employer is articulated in an Apprenticeship Agreement.

Prior to starting the apprenticeship, the apprentice, employer and university are required to complete a University Commitment Statement, which identifies the expectations of the apprentice, university and employer.

Selection Event

Applicants apply for an apprentice position with an Organisation / Trust usually via NHS jobs. The application will be reviewed by the organisation, and the candidates shortlisted and invited to a joint employer/university selection event.

Apprentice applicants will be expected to demonstrate that they have an understanding of the requirements of the Nursing Associate role and will be required to complete an Initial Needs Assessment to ensure the apprenticeship is right for you and assess your prior learning and provide a starting point for the monitoring your progress across the programme.  This will be sent to all applicants via their employing organisation.

Disability information

If applicants are worried that a disability or physical/mental health problem will affect their Nursing Associate application, please refer to our disability concerns document for more information.  Apprentices can disclose any additional learning needs on the Initial Needs Assessment.

Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year one

  • Communication and professional values for health and well-being across the lifespan (30 credits)*
  • Human anatomy and physiology for person-centred care (15 credits)*
  • Principles of nursing associate practice (15 credits)
  • Essential skills and nursing associate practice 1 (60 credits)

* shared modules with BSc (Hons) Nursing course

Year 2

  • Evidence-based practice in health and care (15 credits)*
  • Developing integrated person-centred care (30 credits)
  • Leadership and team-working in health and care (15 credits)
  • Essential skills and nursing associate practice 2 (60 credits)

* shared modules with BSc (Hons) Nursing course

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment


A blended learning approach to teaching is adopted and uses a range of strategies including the interactive workshops, lectures, seminars, virtual learning environment, flipped classroom and e-learning packages.  Scenario-based approaches promote personalised engagement with learning and facilitate group activities, discussions, shared and individual problem-solving and decision-making.

You will meet with your personal academic tutor 4 times each year, who will provide academic and pastoral support and sign-posting.   

To integrate theory and practice and to development your knowledge, skills and behaviours all apprentices have 4 tripartite individual learner reviews each year.  Members of this review will include the employer/assessor/supervisor, a university representative and the apprentice. Undertaking these scheduled tripartite meetings will allow individual monitoring of progress across the apprenticeship.

The University places emphasis on enabling you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.  With study skills embedded into the early stages of the course to help promote apprentice achievement and confidence with learning and assessment.

At the core of the Nursing Associate programme is learning in a range of clinical settings, learning in the real world which facilitates work-readiness, personal and professional development. Mandatory work-based learning equates to 50% of the programme credit for each year. Placement Support Team: Nursing, Midwifery, and Allied Health (PLAST) and will run throughout each semester across the year, with experiences normally in a minimum of two practice placements each year, this includes a primary placement where you are employed and an alternative placement. The use of ‘spokes’ will also maximise the learning opportunities offered by diverse and non-traditional settings, offering exposure to opportunities to care for people across the lifespan, with mental and physical health needs and learning disabilities.

Enhanced learning days rooted in clinical practice, provide opportunities to consolidate learning, provide an opportunity for reflection, complete project activities and inter-professional learning opportunities and seek additional support as necessary to promote inclusive learning in the practice setting

While completing work-based learning you will have protected learning time and be supported by a practice supervisor and assessed by a practice assessor, both having undergone appropriate preparation for these roles.

Further support is provided by the practice-based learning team employed to support the apprentice including a practice facilitator and/or clinical tutors, personal academic tutor, the inter-professional team, and an academic assessor allocated for each year of the programme.  You will have access to the internet and library resources whilst on placement.

You will be provided with the opportunity to complete skills and simulated learning activities in our excellent simulation suite, replicating hospital and community settings. You will be allocated 2 weeks (37 hours per week) in each year for skills and simulation teaching, which includes role-play, hands-on practical skills sessions using a range of simulation manikins, video recording and playback.

Location of teaching

Teaching is delivered at University of Worcester, with practice placements provided by your employer and our local NHS Trust partners across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucester and Dudley, as well as placements in the independent and voluntary sector.

Contact time

In a typical week, an apprentice will have around 7.5 hours (over 1 day) of contact hours of teaching also known as ‘off the job’ training.

Typically, class contact time (on campus or virtually) will be structured around:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorial support
  • Seminars
  • Tutor-led collaborate sessions

As an employee you will be contracted to attend placement for 30 hours per week, experiencing the full range of hours expected of a Nursing Associate. All protected practice learning hours, including skills and simulated learning must be formally recorded and signed for.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to personal self-study. Typically, this will involve reading preparation for assessments and e-learning activities.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities including, The Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 


2 years full-time.

The course is 50% theory and 50% practice learning.45-week timetabled year, plus 7 weeks pre-planned holiday


Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that whilst we try to be as student friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week; and some classes can be scheduled in the evenings.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team is made up primarily of Registered Nurses from different backgrounds, with expertise in their chosen field of practice/area of expertise. Teaching is also supported by the inter-disciplinary and multiagency team, when specialist knowledge is required. Contributions by service users, carers and their families, provides opportunity for them to share their lived experiences, with service users as appropriate having a role in the assessment process.

Teaching is informed by research and consultancy, with 86% of permanent lecturers on the course having a Higher Education teaching qualification, with 82% Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, including 12.5% Senior Fellows (January 2021). You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments. 

Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.  Assessment methods include written assignments (essays/reports), exams (seen and unseen), scenario-based individual and group presentations, including posters.

A typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1

  • Scenario-based essay
  • Group presentation of an e-poster
  • Unseen exam
  • Reflective e-workbook (visual or written), with evidence of medicines calculation test at 80%
  • Assessment of practice learning using the Nursing Associate Practice Assessment Document

Year 2

  • Report
  • Group presentation and written report
  • Unseen exam
  • Scenario-based essay
  • Reflective e-workbook (visual or written), with evidence of medicines calculation test at 100%
  • Assessment of practice learning using the Nursing Associate Practice Assessment Document

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.  

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.



All apprentices who successfully complete the FdSc Nursing Associate will be eligible to apply for Registration with the NMC as a Nursing Associate.

Registered Nursing Associates are eligible to apply for an Agenda for Change Band 4 role.

As an employee it is expected that you would gain employment within your sponsoring organisation.

Apprentices acknowledge that the programme improves their career prospects and future career aspiration.

For Nursing Associates who completed the Foundation Degree in 2019, 100% were either in employment (as Nursing Associates – Band 4) or went onto further academic study within 6 months after their completion, including the BSc (Hons) Nursing programme.

A number of initiatives are embedded to promote employment including mock interviews and support with CV writing during year 2, with Personal Academic Tutors offering support with career planning and writing personal statements.

The Nursing Associate teaching team and the Careers and Employability Service ensure details of Trust recruitment events and individual jobs are publicised. Local employing organisations are invited to meet with finalists and discuss career opportunities and further professional development.

Further study and/linked Honours Degree progression routes

Nursing (Adult, Children’s or Mental Health) BSc (Hons)

Applied Health and Social Care BA (Hons) Top-up


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

This is covered by the Education and Skills Funding Agency via the apprenticeship levy.

Course-related costs included in the fees

For the September 2022 intake, we will provide initial uniforms (3 tunics, 2 trousers & epaulettes), unless employers wish to provide their own uniforms to apprentices

Course-related costs not included in the fees

Day to day costs exist for printing, stationery and books 

As part of the course you will need to travel to placement and will therefore need to pay any associated costs.

Cost of NMC Registration on completion of the FdSc Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How to apply

How to apply

All applications are through your employer and you must have the support of your employer to complete the Nursing Associate apprenticeship. Please discuss the possibility of completing the apprenticeship with your manager. 

Who to contact in the case of queries

Please speak to your employer if you are interested in the Nursing Associate apprenticeship. 

Any employer who requires further details of the Nursing Associate apprenticeship email:

You can contact the Foundation Degree Nursing Associate course lead directly by emailing

Get in touch