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Apprenticeships – Healthcare Science

The field of ‘Healthcare Science’ incorporates a huge array of disciplines and associated scientific, technical and supportive staff roles.

Healthcare Science underpins around 80% of all diagnoses that are made within the NHS and also plays a vital role in the prevention and treatment of a huge number of medical conditions.

Healthcare Science can be split in to 4 broad specialisms all of which are represented at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH). These are Life Sciences (i.e. Pathology), Physiological Science (i.e. Audiology, Cardiac Physiology), Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering (i.e. Clinical Photography, Rehabilitation Engineering) and Bioinformatics.

The Healthcare Science Assistant (HCSA) support workforce contributes to safe patient care across all care pathways from conception to end of life in job roles within CUH.  HCSAs perform a range of low risk, routine technical and scientific procedures usually within one broad area of HCS, following specific protocols and in accordance with health, safety, governance and ethical requirements. HCSAs work using standard operating procedures, initially under direct supervision but increasingly with experience, under indirect supervision, providing routine and one-off testing and technical support in a scientific laboratory environment. Although not exhaustive, activities undertaken by the HCSA may include: preparation of the environment for HCS procedures; production of reliable data, keeping accurate records; stock control of equipment and consumables; inputting and retrieving patient/test specific technical data within required governance processes; performing designated HCS role-specific skills following specified protocols.

Many previous level 2 and 3 apprentices have stayed on to work as Biomedical Support Workers at senior level, Medical Lab Assistants and Lab Technicians, some going on to study the degree apprenticeship.


The level 2 and 3 apprenticeship roles are usually recruited to once a year externally and also offered internally. Higher and degree levels are usually offered to existing staff.

For all current vacancies, please go to Current Vacancies and then click on Healthcare Science or Apprenticeships.

Which Healthcare Science apprenticeships are available at CUH?

Healthcare Science Assistant (Level 2)

Typical Apprenticeship Duration:

15 -18 months

This apprenticeship is offered to external candidates once a vacancy is available.

Laboratory Technician (Level 3)

Typical Apprenticeship Duration:

18 -24 months

This apprenticeship is offered to external candidates usually in a cohort once vacancies are available. It requires a good GCSE or equivalent in Science. If you have an existing level 3 science qualification you can also apply for this if you have not worked in a lab environment previously.

Healthcare Science Associate (Level 4)

Typical Apprenticeship Duration:

24 months

This is a higher apprenticeship and is usually offered to existing CUH staff who would like to up-skill and are not yet ready to study the degree route.   If you are interested in this progression you can consider applying for Level 2 or 3 apprenticeship roles, or a Band 2 permanent role within science first and then apply as an internal candidate.

Healthcare Science Practitioner (degree) Level 6

Typical Apprenticeship Duration:

36 months

The entry criteria to this degree apprenticeship requires a level 3 qualification and/or relevant experience along with a successful University interview through CUH   This apprenticeship is currently only offered to existing staff. However previous level 2, 3 or 4 apprentices have moved on to study this as their next step. If you are interested in this for career progression you can consider applying for Level 2 or 3 apprenticeship roles first or starting in a Band 2 role and then applying as an internal candidate when available.

Professional Recognition

If you complete the degree Apprenticeship you would become a Healthcare Service Practitioner (HCSP). HCSPs are eligible for registration on the Academy for HCS accredited register (which is the HCS register recognised and supported by Health Education England [HEE]). Completion of the apprenticeship in the Life Sciences Division also confers eligibility to apply for statutory regulation with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Biomedical Scientist. In addition, those in the Physical Sciences Division are also eligible to join the accredited Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT) held by the Institute of Physics and Engineering Medicine (IPEM).

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