University confirmed as NHS apprenticeship training partner in Cumbria

12 March 2018

New educational opportunities to fill skills gap

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) celebrated National Apprenticeship Week (5-9 March) having been named as the academic partner in a new training initiative being delivered by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) is recruiting 20 trainee nursing associates and a further 20 trainee nursing associates will be hired by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), to commence in June 2018.

The trainee nursing associate role, which will be offered on an internal secondment basis to existing health care assistants at NCUH and CPFT will bridge the gap between the role of a clinical support worker and a graduate registered nurse. It is part of a two-year programme, leading to a foundation degree and a role as a nursing associate. This role will add a valuable and qualified member of the nursing workforce, as this role will be regulated by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).

This is the third wave of recruitment for apprentice trainee nursing associates, as part of The Lancashire and Cumbria Test Site Partnership with the University acting as academic partner.

Duties for the nursing associate role will include:

  • Providing and planning all aspects of person-centred care including daily living and promoting health and independence
  • Performing and recording clinical observations including blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse
  • Reporting back and sharing information with the registered nurses on the condition, behaviour, activity and responses of patients
  • Assisting in the delivery of complex care  as prescribed by the registered nurse
  • Administering medication
  • Attending to patient’s dressings and wound care.

The training programme for nursing associates combines both academic and work-based learning in the physical, psychological, social and public health aspects of nursing, from pre-conception to end of life.

"This is an excellent opportunity for any health care assistant or assistant practitioner who wants to progress their career, and we are really excited to be offering these roles to our staff."

The academic aspect of the programme will be delivered by UCLan at its Westlakes Campus in Whitehaven and will be fully funded from the Apprentice Levy.  The trainees will work clinically for four days and attend university for one day per week.

Dr Karen Wright, Head of the University’s School of Nursing, said: “We are delighted to have been confirmed as the academic partner for both trusts and to be at the forefront of apprenticeship development models within the health sector. The nursing associate role fills a vital skills gap between the role of a healthcare assistant and a graduate registered nurse while at the same time leads to the award of a foundation degree.”

Candidates must have at least 12 months' experience of working in clinical healthcare. For trainee nursing associates, upon successful completion of the two-year programme, staff will be qualified to take up to Band 4 nursing associate role.

The training course for nursing associates will begin in June 2018. Interviews for the apprenticeships at NCUH are expected to take place at the end of March and in May for CPFT.

Gill Long, head of nursing for clinical education and practice development at NCUH, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for any health care assistant or assistant practitioner who wants to progress their career, and we are really excited to be offering these roles to our staff. It is very important to recognise the vital contribution our non-registered staff make.

“Both NCUH and CPFT are committed to ‘growing our own’ from the bottom up - we know that we have a lot of potential in our health care workforce. These roles benefit both the organisations and the staff, allowing us to keep on those excellent people while ensuring they can flourish in a place where they already have experience.”