NHS Apprenticeships: Shaping the Future of Healthcare

Written by Nicola Wylie

The National Health Service has over 350 careers on offer to anyone looking to enter the healthcare sector. One of the best ways to get your foot in the door is through NHS apprenticeships.  

In this blog, we’ll explore the transformative impact of NHS apprenticeships on the future of healthcare in the UK. These apprenticeships provide practical training, valuable experience, and a pathway to rewarding careers in the National Health Service. Join us as we delve into the details of how NHS apprenticeships are shaping the healthcare industry.

The Value of NHS Apprenticeships

The UK is suffering from a major skills shortage, with 12.2% of all businesses in the UK experiencing a lack of skilled workers. However, according to the latest ONS figures, these numbers increase dramatically to 30.4% in the healthcare sector. NHS apprenticeships bring significant value to the healthcare sector by addressing these skill gaps and fostering a skilled and diverse workforce. 

An apprenticeship in the NHS combines practical training for the job while you study for a qualification you can gain upon completion. This means you are paid a wage and expected to fulfil your duties as an employee of the NHS. You are also a student and will spend at least 20% of your working hours studying and training for the formal qualifications related to your role.

Exploring the Range of NHS Apprenticeships

Here are some of the NHS apprenticeships that are available and offer routes into many of the NHS careers.

Nursing Associate Apprenticeship (Level 5)

Nursing apprenticeships provide a structured programme for aspiring nurses to join the NHS workforce. These apprenticeships combine practical training in a clinical setting with academic study, leading to a recognised nursing qualification. The usual duration of this apprenticeship is 24 months, but this does not include the End Point Assessment period.

The nursing associate apprenticeship bridges the gap between health/care assistants and registered nursing, allowing nursing associates to provide traditional care roles while registered nurses focus on complex clinical duties. They work in various healthcare settings and must be prepared for high-pressure, multi-disciplinary teams. Nursing associates gain experience caring for diverse individuals and promote health and well-being, empowering patients to manage their care. It is a progressive step towards graduate-level nursing.

Healthcare Support Apprenticeship (Level 2)

Healthcare support apprenticeships are ideal for individuals interested in providing essential care and support services within the NHS. These apprenticeships will typically take 12 months to complete, not including the End-Point Assessment Period. There are 30 different roles available covering seven areas of the NHS, including mental health, primary care, maternity and children’s services. Healthcare support workers are the lifeblood of the NHS and are at the heart of everything the NHS does. 

Healthcare support workers provide high-quality care in various healthcare settings, performing routine clinical duties such as assessing patient conditions and monitoring their progress and well-being. Working in a multi-disciplinary team, you’ll support senior healthcare practitioners and ensure patients receive proper care before, during, and after treatments. Dedication to providing excellent patient care and a commitment to continuous improvement are key aspects of this role.

Business Administration Apprenticeship (Level 3)

NHS apprenticeships also include business administration apprenticeships, providing opportunities for those interested in the administrative side of healthcare. The usual duration of business administration apprenticeships with the NHS is around 18 months. The different areas include:

As a business administration apprentice, you’ll contribute to the efficient functioning of the NHS, supporting the delivery of high-quality patient care. Like any business, the NHS must ensure that finances are properly budgeted and spent wisely and that clinical and non-clinical staff are recruited fairly and receive the proper training.

Informatics Apprenticeship (Level 3)

NHS apprenticeships also include informatics apprenticeships, catering to individuals interested in the intersection of healthcare and technology. Informatics apprenticeships last for 18 months, not including the End Point Assessment period. They focus on developing skills in managing health data, analysing healthcare information, and implementing digital solutions. 

As an informatics apprentice, you’ll play a crucial role in optimising healthcare processes, improving data quality and security, and supporting the implementation of digital systems to enhance patient care and outcomes. Typical job roles on completion of the apprenticeship include Service Desk/1st Line Support Technician, Junior Data Analyst or Junior Application Developer.

Of course, these are just a few of the apprenticeships available within the NHS. For more information on the variety of apprenticeships on offer, visit the NHS website.

Support and Development Opportunities

Once accepted into an NHS apprenticeship, apprentices receive robust support and development opportunities. Mentoring programmes provide guidance and advice from experienced professionals, helping apprentices navigate their learning journey. Additionally, apprentices have access to comprehensive training resources, workshops, and seminars tailored to their specific apprenticeship role. These resources aim to enhance their knowledge, skills, and overall professional growth, ensuring they become confident and competent healthcare professionals.

The Future of Healthcare Apprenticeships

The future of healthcare apprenticeships looks promising, with a growing emphasis on apprenticeship schemes to address workforce demands. The government has set out a new plan showing its commitment to expanding and improving apprenticeship programmes. This plan aims to attract new talent and retain current NHS staff. This commitment is aligned with the broader national strategy to ensure a skilled healthcare workforce and meet the evolving needs of the population. As the healthcare landscape evolves, apprenticeships will continue to play a vital role in shaping the future of healthcare delivery.


NHS apprenticeships are transforming the healthcare industry by nurturing skilled professionals who contribute to quality patient care. By offering practical training, work experience, and career progression opportunities, these apprenticeships empower individuals to shape their futures in healthcare. Whether you aspire to be a nurse, healthcare support worker, or work in the wider healthcare team, the NHS provides apprenticeship pathways to kickstart your career. 

Start your apprenticeship search today with the Employing an Apprentice jobs board →

We have lots of help and advice for young professionals looking to start their careers, including the different types of apprenticeships, how to maximise the benefits of an apprenticeship, apprenticeship interview questions, and much more.

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Last Updated: Tuesday April 30 2024
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