CUH Careers logo

Mobile menu open

Apprenticeships – Nursing

We are pleased to provide information about our Nursing Associate Apprenticeship.

Nursing Associate Apprentices:

Nursing Associate Apprentices (NA-A) are a highly trained, generic, nursing support role in England designed to bridge the gap between Healthcare Support Workers (HCSWs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) to deliver hands-on, person centered care as part of the nursing team.

About the role

  • Work independently, and with others, under the leadership and direction of a registered nurse within defined parameters, to deliver care in line with an agreed plan.
  • Like Registered Nurses, join the Nursing Midwifery Council Register (opens in a new tab) (NMC) and on successful completion of the apprenticeship, and registration with the NMC, apprentices are promoted to a band 4 Registered Nursing Associate.
  • Whilst in training, rotate to work in a range of clinical specialties to gain as much experience as possible across different age groups to cover the lifespan of a patient.

The Nursing Associate Apprenticeship offers:

  • Permanent employment
  • University course fees paid by CUH
  • Paid leave for academic study and practice placement
  • Support throughout your employment and training
  • Promotion to a Nursing Associate (band 4) position following registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC)

The Nursing Associate Apprenticeship contains an educational Level 5, foundation degree training programme which typically lasts two years. Nursing Associate Apprentices commence full time as Healthcare Support Workers (37.5 hours per week) to gain experience, knowledge and achievement of the National Care Certificate.

You will be allocated a ‘home’ clinical area where you will work alongside Registered Professionals and Clinical Support Workers to deliver high quality, compassionate care. You will be contracted for 37.5 hours per week as a Nursing Associate Apprentice (always in a learning role).

Upon commencement of your university place, the breakdown of theory and practice is as follows;

- 22.5 hours per week will be either at university/online study undertaking theory or on placement undertaking practical learning

- 15 hours per week will be rostered onto shifts in your home area

We encourage you to contact us if you want to know more about this great opportunity:

Please contact:

More information is also available on our X (Twitter) page: (opens in a new tab)

Frequently asked questions

What does the role involve?

The Nursing Associate Apprentice role is rewarding, challenging, provides job satisfaction as well as a stepping stone to undertaking further study for those that would like to become a registered nurse.

You will work as part of a wider multi-disciplinary team. In this role you will be working closely with people who may be unwell or require additional support or have different needs to people you might normally interact with. You will have good team working skills because people you work with will rely on you, as you will rely on them, for help, guidance and support. Colleagues will rely on you to turn up to your shifts on time, to be organised, to act in a professional manner, keep calm under pressure and to treat those you come into contact with courtesy and respect. Working in a caring role means you will often need to help people with hygiene needs, touching as part of care and handling bodily waste. It is important you consider how you might feel about this when you think about applying for the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, as it is a crucial element of the role.

We understand that before making the decision to apply it is important to do your homework – to get a ‘feel’ for the job, the organisation you’re thinking of joining and to decide “is this really for me?” You can research this role in more detail from the following websites

What hours do Nursing Associate Apprentices work?

This is not a 9 to 5 job. As a hospital, we provide a 24/7 service. Our clinical staff, including HCSWs, need to work to meet the needs of our patients, so are expected to work a variety of shift patterns including days, nights, weekends and public/bank holidays. You may be expected to work long days, short days or a combination of the two.

It is important that you understand you will be required to work on a rota, doing shifts that will include days, nights and weekends. This ensures you learn how to provide care as our patients’ needs change across a normal day.

How long does it take?
  • A programme of 24 months duration
  • You will be allocated a ‘home’ clinical area where you will work alongside Registered Professionals and Clinical Support Workers to deliver high quality, compassionate care. You will be contracted for 37.5 hours per week as a Nursing Associate Apprentice (always in a learning role). 22.5 hours will be either at university/online study undertaking theory or on placement undertaking practical learning. For the remaining 15 contracted hours per week, you will be rostered onto shifts in your home area.
Nurses and Patients

Clinical Manager comments on their experiences of the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship:

The Nursing Apprenticeship opportunity is a brilliant initiative that we at CUH are extremely proud to support.

An amazing opportunity, not only does it provide ‘earn as you learn’ development opportunities for our existing Healthcare Support Worker workforce, it assists in staff retention and stabilising our future Nursing workforce.

Our successful, robust, Nursing Associate Apprenticeship enables individuals to work, and learn, alongside our extremely dedicated CUH team and university colleagues to deliver ‘outstanding care’ to our patients.

Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, Staff Experiences

“I joined the trust in August 2022, I originally joined with hopes to further my career and I heard about Addenbrooke’s being a “Teaching Hospital” this is when I applied for the Health Care Support Worker position in ICU and I worked here for around one year before I started on the Nursing Associate Course.

My role involves a lot of patient repositioning and adapting to situations as they develop and I assist our amazing staff to provide the best care.

The most enjoyable part of my role is that I love seeing our patients recovering and leaving ICU, this then feel like we have really made a difference to this patient’s journey on the road to recovery.

My usual day in my current role is to attend the handovers and to help with the restocking and tidying of the unit. We then carry out personal care and repositioning for the bulk of the day and it is hard to plan what will happen as the patients’ needs vary.

My role has many benefits but the main one being that we care for our patients and to meet all of their basic needs which makes a huge impact on patient recovery.

I would definitely recommend this route to others as starting on the ward before I started on my Nursing Associate journey. You make lots of new connections and to provide support during challenging times.” Tayba - Nursing Associate Apprentice, ICU

I joined CUH in November 2022 and began working as a HCA on a surgical assessment ward. I love working here because I feel like I am giving back from when I was younger and spent time here in the hospital.

I work as a Healthcare Support worker to aid patients with personal care tasks and other Health Care Workers to help and assist in their work load.

I love the diverse mix of people you meet and being able to make connections and to hear their stories as well as helping their journey.

My days start really early but I find this worthwhile and I love that I am on the go and there is no such thing as a “usual day” as each day is different.

I feel like my role helps patients with their progress and to help them within their surroundings and to make their days as normal as possible and to make their days comfortable.

I recommend this route as you are hands on learning and there is always opportunities to learn and improve and being hands on.” Issy Nursing Associate Apprentice, D6

More information about apprenticeships and working at CUH can be found at:

Teaching Nursing