Apprenticeships are about ‘earning while you learn’.

They are a combination of on the job training and related study closely supported and supervised by a professional training provider. They are a great way to start and develop your career. Apprenticeship qualifications are also available for existing staff.

Anyone over the age of 16 can do an apprenticeship. As there is no upper age limit, many people start an apprenticeship when they are looking for a career change or simply looking for further development and qualifications. For those who have just left school, apprenticeships provide a very viable alternative to university courses, as apprenticeships can be studied to degree level and those who take up an apprenticeship will not be left with tuition fee loans after their studies.

The NHS is one of the most extensive providers of apprenticeships for people aged 16 and over, with more than 150 different roles available. As the country’s largest employer the NHS offers the widest variety of apprenticeships in patient-facing and supporting roles including trades, engineering, finance, management and pharmacy.

According to Government UK statistics:

  • The majority (92%) of apprentices in work felt that their apprenticeship had had a positive impact on their career
  • Almost 9 out of every 10 apprenticeship employers hoping to achieve business benefits tell us that apprenticeships deliver – including 75% reporting that it has helped their business improve the quality of their product or service
  • After finishing, 7 in 10 apprentices (77%) stay with the same employer


Types of Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships in the healthcare sector

There are both clinical and non-clinical apprenticeships available in the health care sector.

Some of the clinical and technical apprenticeships available for the health sector are listed below.

  • Healthcare Support Worker Level 2
  • Senior Healthcare Support Worker Level 3
  • Adult Nursing Support
  • Maternity Support
  • Theatre Support
  • Nursing Degree Level 6 (available September 2017)
  • Dental Nurse Level 3
  • Dental Technician Level 2/5
  • Healthcare Science Assistant Level 2
  • Healthcare Science Associate Level 4


Included in the list of many non-clinical apprenticeships relevant to the health sector are:

  • Management
  • Customer Service
  • Business & Administration
  • Healthcare Support Services


Apprenticeship levels:

  • Level 2: Equivalent to GCSE level
  • Level 3: Equivalent to GCE A level
  • Level 4: Equivalent to Higher Education Certificate
  • Level 5: Equivalent to Foundation Degree
  • Level 6: Equivalent to Degree level
  • Level 7: Equivalent to Masters level


Case Studies

Dawn Hunt, Manager of First Steps Nursery has been taking on an apprentices at the Trust’s nurseries since 2013.

“We attract very dedicated and hard –working apprentices as there’s no training quite like the NHS. In addition to the qualifications, they also undergo the Trust’s Induction Programme which gives them a range of skills and knowledge that wouldn’t be standard in most nurseries. We also make sure that we recognise and build on any particular individual skills. For example, if someone has skills in music, we use that special ability to enhance the children’s activities.”

Hayley Phillips, 22 of Staines, began her apprenticeship with the hospital nursery in August 2014. She has since joined the team as a full-time practitioner. Hayley explains how the nursery apprenticeship scheme changed her life:

“I wanted to make a difference in my life; I was working in a shop but wanted to work with children. Mum worked for the NHS and heard about the new scheme and suggested it. That was the start of the last two years and I am now working within a 76 place nursery of children from 6 months to 5 years and 20 staff of all ages. Thanks to my apprenticeship, I’ve opened up a whole new world of opportunities I can follow”.