FdSc Nursing Associate (Higher Apprenticeship Route)

Our Level 5 FdSc Nursing Associate (Higher Apprenticeship Route) allows you to invest in your workforce by combining university education, work-based learning and ongoing professional development. While working as a valuable part of your team, your apprentices can gain the skills and knowledge needed to deliver high quality, compassionate care under the direction of a registered nurse.

FdSc Nursing Associate (Higher Apprenticeship Route)

Course details

Our FdSc Nursing Associate (Higher Apprenticeship Route) is aimed at those who already have experience working in the health and care sector as well as those who are new to the caring professions. It’s an ideal route to progress the careers of health care assistants, maximising their value to your organisation and supporting them to achieve their potential. Nursing associates support registered nurses to ensure service users and their families receive effective, compassionate, safe and responsive nursing care in and across a wide range of health and care settings. The course qualifies as a Level 5 Apprenticeship under the Apprenticeship Levy guidelines and NMC Standards of Proficiency.

Your apprentices will spend a significant amount of their time in work undertaking work-based learning. Study at the university complements learning in the workplace, supporting apprentices to develop the core knowledge, skills, values and behaviours required to work with patients of all ages in a range of settings covering pre-conception to end of life. Our dynamic and multi-disciplinary course team will support your apprentices as they learn to deliver high quality person-centred care, taking account of the perspectives and pathways of individuals, their families and carers, and supporting the registered nurse in the assessment, planning, delivery and evaluation of care.

Nursing associates need to develop a breadth of knowledge and a flexible, portable skill set that will enable them to serve local health populations. Together we’ll support your apprentices as they learn to work across a range of fields of nursing, such as mother and baby, children and young people, adults and older people, mental health and learning disability nursing.

If you’re looking for undergraduate-level training in this subject area but don’t work for an employer who is offering apprenticeships, please see our related courses section for details of study opportunities that don’t require current employment. Alternatively you can apply for a trainee nursing associate (TNA) position as an external candidate with one of the participating organisations. These positions are advertised through NHS jobs.

  • Start date: 27/04/2020 or 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: FdSc
  • Duration: 2 years

Course highlights:

  • This higher apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to offer structured training, a recognised foundation degree-level qualification, and support towards professional registration with the NMC, helping you to attract the best new talent and retain valued staff through career progression.
  • Your apprentices will have access to facilities in the flagship £31 million Bolton One building, including our state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Suites where they will be able to practice skills and develop knowledge using clinical equipment and simulators.
  • Your apprentices will be guided by staff with extensive experience in nursing, healthcare and inter-professional education.
  • We’ll support your apprentices as they learn to deliver nursing care safely, in areas such as administering medication within the scope of the nursing associate, using medical devices, using invasive and non-invasive procedures and infection prevention and control.
  • We’ll help them to develop their knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, common health conditions and the principles and practice of medicine management, as well as develop the appropriate decision making and problem solving skills needed to support the registered nurse.

Key features:

  • Our approach to teaching and learning is ‘student-centred’, so we’ll work with your apprentices on an individual basis, providing tailored help and support throughout their studies.
  • Course materials are available online, allowing your apprentices to prepare work at home and make the most of the highly interactive in-class tuition.
  • Essential values and behaviours are embedded within the programme. We’ll guide your apprentices as they learn the responsibilities and professional values of a nursing associate and the nursing profession, and encourage them to demonstrate a personal commitment to professional standards and ethical practice.
  • We’ll support your apprentices as they learn to treat people with dignity, respecting each individual’s diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, values, privacy and preferences.
  • Apprentices will be encouraged to develop team working, leadership, communication and inter-personal skills, as well as a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Quarterly and annual reviews, where each apprentice, their workplace assessor and a member of our team meet to assess your apprentice’s progress, promotes a continuing conversation between your workplace and the university. This helps to ensure the success of your apprentices and maximise the value of their studies to your organisation.

Entry requirements

  • Start date: 27/04/2020 or 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: FdSc
  • Duration: 2 years

A level 2 or level 3 qualification in health and social care is desirable, but not essential.

Applicants must have GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics and demonstrate the academic aptitude to undertake this programme. Functional Skills Level 2 in Literacy and Numeracy are accepted as equivalent to GCSEs. Please contact the university for other GCSE equivalent qualifications that would be accepted for entry onto this course.

Each candidate will be considered and selected on an individual basis by both the employer and academic staff.

Qualifications gained outside England and Wales will be assessed on an individual basis according to guidance by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

After successful short-listing, applicants will be invited to take part in our values-based recruitment process that involves a face-to-face interview with practice staff and an academic tutor. Interviews will be undertaken within the employing organisation.

Applicants who are successful at the interview stage will be asked to undergo occupational health screening and a DBS check by their employing organisation.

Applicants must satisfactorily pass occupational health screening.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they are of good health and good character prior to enrolment and on an on-going basis throughout their studies and career.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) route may be used for entry – RPL must be capable of being mapped to the NMC Standards of proficiency for Nursing Associates and programme outcomes up to a maximum of 50% of the programme. This maximum limit of 50% does not apply to applicants to the programme who are currently a NMC registered nurse without restrictions on their practice.

This course involves regulated activity so applicants must gain an Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting their studies. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service. Find out more

Admission to this programme is only available to candidates who meet the following criteria. 1) They are employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week in a role relevant to the apprenticeship. 2) They have the right to live and work in the UK. 3) Their employer is participating in the Higher Apprenticeship scheme. 4) Their employer is willing to sponsor them to attend the University one day per week (times and dates to be determined). Please note that an apprentice cannot be self-employed.

If English isn’t the applicant's first language they will also need IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

To be eligible for tuition fee funding through the Apprenticeship Levy, candidates should not normally have already completed a qualification at the same level as the proposed apprenticeship, unless that qualification was gained in a completely unrelated discipline.

Career opportunities

A nursing associate is a member of the nursing team who provides care and support for patients and service users under the supervision of a registered nurse. The role is designed to address a skills gap between health care assistants and registered nurses.

Nursing associates are trained to work with people of all ages and in a variety of settings. It’s intended that the role will enable registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical duties.

Once qualified and registered, nursing associates will give care in a range of settings within health and social care. Like nurses and other health professionals, they may expand their scope of practice through further education and experience.

What can I do with this qualification?

Whilst the nursing associate is a stand-alone role in its own right, it also provides a progression route into graduate level nursing. Apprentices who successfully complete this programme will have the opportunity to apply for and be interviewed for the University of Bolton’s BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) programmes and may be eligible for year 2 entry.

Professional recognition

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the legal regulator for nursing associates.

Candidates who successfully complete the end point assessment for this apprenticeship will be able to apply to join the nursing associate part of the NMC’s register.

Successful apprentices will be awarded the FdSc Nursing Associate from the University of Bolton and a Higher Apprenticeship Certificate from the Institute for Apprenticeships.

Fees & funding

No fee information is currently available, please contact Student Data Management on 01204 903059 or SDMenquiries@bolton.ac.uk for more information

Useful information

Apprentices will not be expected to pay tuition fees towards this programme. Your organisation may be able to fund this Higher Apprenticeship though the Apprenticeship Levy (if your organisation is paying the levy).

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.


There are no bursaries associated with this programme.

Click here for more information on undergraduate bursaries

How to apply


Please contact the programme leader for details of the application procedure. You can find their name, email address and phone number in the Contact us section of this page.

For tailored support and advice regarding apprenticeships, please visit http://uob.ac/connectED


International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Principles of Nursing Associate Practice
  • Anatomy and Physiology and the Foundations of Medicines Management
  • Wider Approaches to Promoting Health and Preventing Ill Health
  • Recognising Acute Physical and Mental Health and Illness for Nursing Associate Practice
  • Contributing to Integrated Care for People With Complex Needs and Associated Medicines Management
  • Enhancing Skills: Developing Leadership, Knowledge and Evidence Based Practice for the Nursing Associate

Teaching, learning and assessment

The nursing associate role is diverse and multi-faceted, so we use a wide range of teaching and learning methods. These are designed to fully engage apprentices, helping them to develop the skills, knowledge, self-awareness, values and behaviours essential to become a nursing associate, with particular reference to your organisation and their place within it. Learning focuses on your workplace environment, so that apprentices build the competencies demanded by the role and learn to apply this expertise within your organisation. Your apprentices will spend a significant amount of their time in the workplace, with the rest of their time being devoted to off-the-job training and university learning. This balance is designed to meet the requirements of both the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Our tutors are research active and teaching is underpinned by rigorous research. Teaching methods will include lectures, presentations, simulations and practice of skills in our simulation suite, seminar discussions, small group workshops, small group tutorials and one-to-one tutorials.

As well as attending timetabled sessions, apprentices will also be expected to allocate significant time to independent and self-directed studies. For example, background reading, preparing for seminars, working on assignments and revising for exams will support their timetabled learning and help develop the skills required for lifelong learning. Our friendly and supportive tutors will be here to guide them, and will gladly help them devise an independent study regime focused on their individual development needs. Learning will also be supported by the university's virtual learning environment, Moodle.

The assessment strategy for the programme is designed to ensure that apprentices achieve the overall aims and learning outcomes of the programme, as well as the learning outcomes for individual modules. The assessment of practice and theory contributes to the final award. All assessments in practice (practice assessment documentation (PAD) and portfolio) must be passed before an apprentice can progress to the next stage/term/year and completion of the programme. In addition to the assessments associated with the foundation degree programme, apprentices will undertake an end point assessment, at the end of the apprenticeship period.

Apprentices will be assessed using a range of methods, including essays, reports, presentations, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE), traditional examinations and assessment of practice within the practice setting. Some assessments contribute to their final module marks, while others are designed to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses, and where they need to seek extra support from course tutors.

Your organisation will need to provide each apprentice with a workplace assessor to support their development. They will also benefit from regular visits from a university nursing lecturer/clinical educator. The workplace assessor, university nursing lecturer/clinical educator and apprentice will work together to create the individual learning plan required to ensure the apprentice’s progress.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (60%), Practical exams (25%), Written exams (15%)
Level Two Coursework (28%), Practical exams (62%), Written exams (10%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (40%), Placement/study abroad (50%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (10%)
Level Two Guided independent study (40%), Placement/study abroad (50%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (10%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • Course type:
  • Start date:
    27/04/2020 or 21/09/2020
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
  • Duration:
    2 years

Contact us

Heather Jackson
Programme Leader (Joint)
Email: H.Jackson2@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903152

Siobhan Doolan
Programme Leader (Joint)
Email: S.Doolan@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903705

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Email: enquiries@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903