The NHS is one of the largest employers in the world - and the biggest employer in Europe. It has over 1.5 million workers with many different types of roles available. An apprenticeship is a great way into the NHS with access to hundreds of different careers through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning.
There are lots of great opportunities to progress your career through apprenticeships if you want to, and the range of opportunities keeps growing. Apprenticeships range across all levels, including degrees, and many lead to nationally-recognised and regulated roles.
There are also some excellent benefits to working for the NHS and you can learn more about why it’s great to work for them in our blog. One of the notable benefits is that you would be eligible for loans from us at Salad Money. Unlike other traditional lenders who rely on credit scores, we use Open Banking to give fair, affordable loans to NHS workers.
What is an NHS apprenticeship?
An NHS apprenticeship combines practical work with studying. You’ll get to start working in your chosen area of healthcare, learning the necessary skills on the job while you study for your qualification. The best bit? You earn money at the same time.
In terms of key information for NHS apprenticeships, here are some facts to note:
- Apprenticeships can take between one to five years to complete. This depends on the level and your specific employer
- Apprenticeships are open to anyone from the age of 16
- As well as learning in the workplace, you may go on ‘day’ or ‘block’ release to a training centre or college
- You will be working towards a competence qualification (based on what you can do in the workplace) and a knowledge qualification - or even one that combines both elements
- Your transferable skills will be developed, including English and Maths
- Many employers will pay over the minimum - but you are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for your age (unless you are aged 16 to 18, or 19+ and in your first year of an apprenticeship, when you would receive at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices. This was £4.15 an hour as of April 2020).
What apprenticeships do the NHS offer?
Apprenticeships in the NHS are available at four levels:
- Intermediate apprenticeships which follow work-based learning towards level 2 – equivalent to GCSEs level/level 2 qualifications
- Advanced apprenticeship which follow work-based learning towards level 3 – equivalent to A-levels/level 3 qualifications
- Higher apprenticeships which follow work-based learning towards levels 4, 5 and 6 – equivalent to a foundation degree and above
- Degree apprenticeships which follow work-based learning towards levels 6 and 7 – equivalent to a full bachelor’s or Master’s degree
There are hundreds of different jobs covered by apprenticeships. Some examples of apprenticeships in the NHS include Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Psychological Therapies,
Voluntary Services and Nursing. These will be covered in the following sections.
Midwifery is placed within the Maternity team. These employees provide overall care and support to women and their families during pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period. The team will work in GP practices, people’s homes and hospitals.
As well as Midwifery, other apprenticeship opportunities within the Maternity Team include: Advanced Clinical Practitioner, Healthcare Support Worker, and Senior Healthcare Support Worker (Maternity Support).
Physiotherapists help people improve their mobility and regain their independence after an injury or operation, or as a result of ageing or a disability. A university degree is the most popular way to become a physiotherapist - but you can also apply for an NHS degree apprenticeship. Once you’ve successfully completed this, you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can start practising.
To get onto a physiotherapist degree apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a specific health care provider. You can search for these vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an Apprenticeship website. Your employer and the government will pay the tuition fees for your degree apprenticeship.
Psychological Therapies apprenticeships
The Psychological Therapies team helps people cope with problems as diverse as drug or alcohol addiction, eating disorders, family breakdown or bereavement. Psychological Therapies include branches of psychology related to healthcare, such as clinical or health psychology, counselling and psychotherapy roles. You can also find jobs within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. The team will work in GP practices, in hospitals and with people in everyday settings like schools, community centres and people’s homes.
Apprenticeship opportunities in Psychological Therapies include Registered Nurses, Psychological Well-being Practitioners, Senior Healthcare Support Workers (Mental Healthcare Support), Arts Therapists, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists.
Voluntary Services apprenticeships
The Voluntary Services team plays an important role in supporting the provision of healthcare services. The Voluntary Services team coordinates all the volunteer activity in the organisation (volunteers in the NHS are crucial, as they help with a wide range of activities such as office administration, emotional or social support to patients and families, signposting people to departments, collaborating on projects or fundraising events).
The Voluntary Services team work closely with service managers to place and supervise the volunteers who may work helping people in hospitals. The team may also be responsible for raising money to support volunteer activity within the organisation.
NHS apprenticeship opportunities within the Voluntary Services team include (but are not limited to): Associate Project Manager, Bid and Proposals Coordinator, Business Administrator, Chartered Manager, Customer Service Practitioner, Customer Service Specialist, Operations/Departmental Manager, Project Manager, Senior Leader and Team Leader/Supervisor.
The Nursing team works together to provide care for adults and children with physical or mental ill health or disability. Nursing roles can vary from helping someone with basic daily tasks to administering life-saving drugs. Registered nurses work in different areas and are in charge of assessing, diagnosing, planning and evaluating treatment. They are supported by the wider nursing team. Nursing staff can choose to work in a range of settings from patients’ homes, GP practices, schools, nursing homes and other areas such as prisons or hospices.
Apprenticeships in Nursing include: Advanced Clinical Practitioner, District Nurse, Healthcare Support Worker, Nursing Associate, Registered Nurse, Senior Healthcare Support Worker and Specialist Community Public Health Nurse.
NHS apprenticeship vacancies near you
The NHS is always hiring - so look into apprenticeships and apply for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website. Click on the ‘Search Jobs’ tab and then tick Apprenticeships under the Job Type in ‘Additional Filters’. If you want to get a snapshot of some live vacancies, you can see them on the general Apprenticeship information page. If you are keen to know which NHS jobs are most in demand, our blog will tell you more.
There is a lot of competition for apprenticeship places, so make sure your application is strong. When you are making your application and preparing for your interview, you need to show that you are a dedicated, responsible person who is able to cope with both the work and the study commitments. The NHS has a career planning site with lots of information on applications and interviews to help you.
If you do well, after completing your apprenticeship, you may be offered a permanent job. Most successful apprentices stay in employment, often with the same employer. You should check whether you are likely to be offered work at the end of your programme. You can ask whether there are opportunities for promotion when you have completed your apprenticeship - and whether you will be able to continue with your studies. You can often progress from one level of apprenticeship to another, which is good to know. Some apprenticeships even provide you with the qualifications you need to go to university.
If you see an apprenticeship you’re interested in, it’s always a good idea to contact the training provider for it and get yourself on their mailing list so you’re kept up to date.
There are other useful websites to learn more information too. HASO is where you can look for apprenticeship standards for roles in health and social care. The Institute for apprenticeships gives useful information about different employers, and case studies from real apprentices. Amazing apprenticeships also has lots of information and resources to help you find the right apprenticeship for you.
Good luck with your application process! If you do end up working for the NHS, after three months you’ll be able to apply for fair and affordable loans at Salad Money. Getting settled into a new job and home can often incur unexpected costs - let us help you get peace of mind.