The NHS needs a workable solution to the nationwide shortage of nursing staff. The newly approved Nursing Associate apprenticeship will attract new recruits to help redress those shortages.The Nursing Associate apprenticeship launched today will bridge the gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses and provide a progression route into graduate level nursing.This updated version of the apprenticeship meets the education requirements for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has today launched a Nursing Associate apprenticeship ready to help plug NHS skills gap.

It is being introduced into the health and care workforce to bridge the gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses. Nursing Associates are a stand-alone role that also provide a progression route into graduate level nursing.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton, who worked as a nurse for the NHS for 25 years, specialising in palliative care, welcomed the move.

She said: “I am delighted that the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education have launched the new Nursing Associate apprenticeship. This new high-quality apprenticeship will make sure those starting a nursing career in the NHS have the skills they need and will pave the ways to a degree level nursing apprenticeship. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone thinking of getting into nursing.”
Sir Gerry Berragan, Chief Executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, said: “We are delighted to launch the updated apprenticeship. The NHS Trusts who led with its development have made it clear that they need many more Nursing Associates and apprenticeships are a great way to train them. We are confident that it will now meet the needs of the health sector, training providers and most importantly the thousands of people who want to earn as they learn.”

The apprenticeship launched today is an updated version of a predecessor launched in 2017. There had been issues around how that tied in with the skills expected by the NMC, which have now been addressed.

Health Minister, Stephen Hammond said: “Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers and today marks another important milestone in opening up the profession to everyone – a key part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS. Regulating Nursing Associates was an important step in recognising this new nursing role and this new apprenticeship standard aligns with the regulator’s standards to allow Nursing Associates to add a valuable skills mix to the health and social care sector, benefitting patient care." 

The apprenticeship standard, which sets out key knowledge, skills and behaviours expected from apprentices, has been developed with NHS Trusts from across the country.

The NHS needs a workable Nursing Associate standard to help it meet skills gaps. It’s hoped the new standard will be instrumental in attracting new and emerging talent in to healthcare.

For background:

  • Nursing Associates may provide care for people who have mental, physical, cognitive and behavioural care needs.
  • They may provide care for people in their own home, in the community or hospital or in any health care settings where their needs are supported and managed.
  • It’s intended that an expansion in the number of Nursing Associate apprentices will allow registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical duties.
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council stipulate selection, admission and progression requirements for entry to approved nursing associate programmes. The requirements can be seen on their website.