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Are you passionate about learning, developing your clinical nursing skills and the underpinning knowledge to deliver excellent patient care? Would you like to learn and earn without incurring tuition costs? Join the NCL Student* Nursing Associate (SNA) Programme!

*formerly: Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA)

Recruitment for October 2024 is now open and closes on 26th May 2024.

In North Central London (NCL), we run a unique, award-winning partnership of primary, mental health, acute, and adult social care providers with the Middlesex University.

The aim of the NCL SNA/TNA partnership is to provide learners with access to a high-quality, comprehensive health care training across various health care settings via a state of the art hub and spoke system of placements, enabling the development of a competent and highly skilled workforce capable of working both in primary and secondary care.

Key information

Duration of the apprenticeship

24 months

Start dates

October, March each year

Applications will open

in April 2024 to recruit a cohort commencing in October 2024

Study mode

A combination of university study blocks, hub placement blocks and spoke placement blocks + non-assessed time in practice

Qualification achieved

Nursing Associate Foundation Degree awarded by Middlesex University

Nursing Associate Level 5 Apprenticeship

Salary

Agenda for change band 3 (+ Higher Cost Area Supplements, if/as applicable) equivalent - set annually - please see Pay scales for 2023/24 | NHS Employers

About the (Student) Nursing Associate role

Nursing Associate (NA) is a role that has recently been added within the NHS nursing workforce to bridge the gap between the roles of the health care support worker and the registered nurses. (Student) Nursing Associates work within multi-disciplinary teams in a variety of health care settings. They deliver hands-on, person-centred care with a holistic approach to ensure outstanding patient care.

In North Central London, we train Nursing Associates via a level 5 Apprenticeship Student Nursing Associate programme. Find out how to apply below.

Whilst on the programme, you will be employed into a full time (37.5h/week) Student Nursing Associate role for a fixed period of 2 years and 3 months.

Once you've completed training, you will be working as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside Registered Nurses, as registered Nursing Associate, and your duties are likely to include:

  • Immunisations

  • Vaccinations

  • Cervical smears

  • Venepuncture

  • Blood pressure checks

  • ECGs

  • Wound care

  • Measure & interpret blood glucose levels

  • Administration of medicinal products

  • Care planning (reviewed by a nurse before implementing)

  • Catheter care (in secondary and care home settings)


You will be registered with the NMC and will work to a code and standards of proficiency.

How does a Nursing Associate role differ from a Registered Nurse?

See template job descriptions below in a dedicated tab.

Who can apply?

The SNA/TNA apprenticeship programme is open to candidates from a broad range of backgrounds. To meet the eligibility criteria, you will need to:

  • Be over 18 years old, as several collaborating trusts within our programme have a minimum age requirement of 18 years old in order for candidates to be accepted onto the programme.

  • Provide evidence (i.e. certificates) of Maths and English GCSEs (grade 9 to 4, grade A to C) or Functional Skills Level 2. NB Only applications from candidates who have submitted evidence of eligibility by the time applications close will be considered.

    • If you do not have the qualifications required (e.g. appropriate level of GCSEs English and maths or Functional Skills) you will need to obtain these before applying. This can be done at no cost but can take up to 6 months to complete so it's important to factor this when planning.

    • To check if you have the right qualifications to apply, email ncl.functionalskills@nhs.net

    • View our guide to getting Functional Skills (ncltraininghub.org).

  • Prove that you currently live and have lived in the UK for 3 years or more with the right to work and study in England with no restrictions. Your right to live and work in the UK must cover the duration of the apprenticeship programme.

  • If applying for a SNA role within General Practice, please note that candidates must have previous health/care experience.

  • Also, as most vacancies in General Practice are offered at Primary Care Network level (PCN), please note that it is essential that you have a flexible approach with an understanding that your role may well require rotating between two or more member practices.

Recruitment process - step-by-step

If you choose to work in the boroughs of Barnet, Enfield, Haringey, Camden, or Islington, the North Central London SNA apprenticeship programme is delivered in an exclusive partnership with the Middlesex University whilst recruitment onto the programme is coordinated by the North Central London Training Hub and North London Partners Shared Services.

We run two recruitment campaigns a year – for cohorts starting in March and October.

  • Please see below the recruitment steps for external candidates i.e., candidates applying for the programme, who aren't already employed by the hiring employers.

STEP 1: Apply via Trac

STEP 1: Apply via Trac

To apply for a SNA role you will need to complete a TRAC application form as instructed in the advert. The application form is lengthy, but you need to make sure you spend time to complete it with as much information as possible.

The SNA recruitment process is competitive and the selection process is anonymous. The recruiters shortlisting applications won't see your personal details so it is important that you provide all the relevant details in the application form.

The application form is the first stage of the application process and will help us understand you, your current skill set, and your academic achievements. Pay attention to the following sections:

  • Education & Professional Qualifications

    Full details of the essential qualifications can be found on the Person Specification.

  • Current/most recent employer & Previous employer

    To ensure we get all the information we need and to understand your suitability for the role you will need to provide a full work history. This should include your current employer, whether you have worked in the past to provide health/care, volunteering history (if applicable), and any additional initiatives or projects you may have been involved in.

  • Supporting Information

    This section is essential, and an ideal opportunity for you to explain why you are an ideal candidate for the SNA role. Before completing this section it is really important that you have read the Job Description (JD) and Person Specification (PS) in detail. Your supporting information should help you demonstrate a good understanding of the SNA role and that of the Registered Nursing Associate. This section will also provide us with a way to assess your communication skills, and you should take time to complete it in a well thought out, detailed and concise manner.

STEP 2: Submit evidence of eligibility and tell us who's your 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice employer

STEP 2: Submit evidence of eligibility and tell us who's your 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice employer

To complete your application, you will need to provide evidence of Maths and English GCSEs (grade 9 to 4, grade A to C) or Functional Skills Level 2 via an external survey link.

You will need to save a digital (soft) copy of your certificates and upload them alongside your personal details via a URL specified in the advert.

Only applications from candidates who have submitted evidence of eligibility by the time applications close will be considered.

  • If you do not have the qualifications required (e.g. appropriate level of GCSEs English and maths or Functional Skills) you will need to obtain these before applying. This can be done at no cost but can take up to 6 months to complete so it's important to factor this when planning.

  • To check if you have the right qualifications to apply, email ncl.functionalskills@nhs.net

  • View our guide to getting Functional Skills (ncltraininghub.org).

  • Please note that if choosing General Practice as your 1st choice employer, you might be placed in any surgery across North Central London boroughs, depending on the available vacancies, and that:

    • You must gave previous health/care experience

    • As most vacancies in General Practice are offered at Primary Care Network level (PCN), it is essential that you have a flexible approach with an understanding that your role may well require rotating between two or more member practices.

STEP 3: Await news from application shortlisting

STEP 3: Await news from application shortlisting

Once application close, your application will be anonymised and evaluated, using scoring criteria based on the Person Specification. Once your application has been checked and scored, we will longlist the top scored application forms and deanonymize the selection to cross check with the evidence of eligibility you supplied. If the evidence you submitted confirms your eligible, you will be invited to an interview. If you have failed to submit the required evidence, your application will be rejected but you will be able to re-apply in the future.

Candidates will be informed of the application shortlisting outcome via the TRAC e-mail system.

NB Interviews for the March 2024 cohort will take place between 20 and 25 November. It is essential that you make yourself available to attend an interview in that week, should you wish to proceed with your application.

STEP 4: Prepare and attend an interview

STEP 4: Prepare and attend an interview

Candidates whose applications were shortlisted will be invited to attend an interview. The interviews last approx. 30 mins. Interview panels will include the employer you indicated as your 1st choice and a representative of the Middlesex University, responsible for the academic aspect of the apprenticeship.

You will receive an invitation to the interview via email directly from the Middlesex University. On the day of your interview you will also need to attend a briefing call for candidates that provides an introduction to the programme.

Please note, all interviews are now scheduled to take place face-to-face at the Middlesex University's Campus. For the March'24 cohort, all interviews will take place between 20 and 25 November 2023

If you cannot attend your interview you should respond, as much in advance as possible, to the email invitation received. Generally, it's not possible to reschedule interviews. In case of extenuating circumstances or force majeure, it might be possible to reschedule the interview but only provided you gave notice that you would not be able to attend.

It is important that you prepare for your interview to the same degree as you would prepare for a job interview. Read a guide from Middlesex University on how best to prepare.

STEP 5: Allocation to employer

STEP 5: Allocation to employer

If your interview is successful, you will be notified within 10 days of your interview and offered a placement on the programme. If possible, you will be offered a place with your 1st choice employer, however, this is subject to the availability of placements and number of successful candidates.

STEP 6: Conditional job offer

STEP 6: Conditional job offer

Once you've been allocated a placement, you will be issued a conditional offer letter, subject to:

  • successfully completing pre-employment checks - this includes an ID check, an Occupation Health test, a DBS check, reference checks etc. - see step 6a

  • completing your enrolment with the Middlesex University - see step 6b

You will be given a timeframe for completing these two steps. Only candidates who complete pre-employment checks and enrolment with the University will be issued an unconditional job offer.

Step 6a: Pre-employment checks

Step 6a: Pre-employment checks

You will be contacted by your employer's HR team with a request for information and documents necessary to complete the pre-employment checks. You might also be required to travel to the HR office for a face to face appointment. It is vital that you address all requests for information as promptly and professionally as possible to ensure the process can be completed within the deadline.

Step 6b: Enrol with Middlesex University

Step 6b: Enrol with Middlesex University

Whilst you're undergoing pre-employment checks, you will also need to successfully enrol with the Middlesex University. The enrolment process takes places on a platform called Aptem and you will receive a link to enrol directly from Aptem.

For a step-by-step guide to the enrolment process, view the Aptem guide for applicants.

STEP 7: Pre-programme day

STEP 7: Pre-programme day

Once you've completed your pre-employment checks and enrolled with Middlesex University you will have completed your recruitment process. Congratulations! Before your programme starts, you will be invited to a face-to-face pre-programme day. This will allow you to:

  • meet your lecturers and fellow students

  • find out more about the first few weeks of the programme

  • receive a full introduction into the curriculum and study plan

STEP 8: Programme starts

STEP 8: Programme starts

Normally, during the first week of the programme you will attend a theory block with Middlesex University, and only then commence your practical placement with your hub employer.

NB attendance in the first few weeks is mandatory and non-negotiable so make sure to not plan any holidays for this time.

About the programme

The TNA apprenticeship programme is designed to ensure an equal balance of theory and practice delivered through practice- and classroom-based learning.

  • It is a two-year full-time apprenticeship combined with a Foundation Degree at Middlesex University, including approx. 2,300 programme hours which are divided to achieve an equal balance of theory and practice learning.

  • You will be allocated a host employer which can be a General Practice, a Nursing Home, or an NHS Trust, in North Central London.

    • When applying for the programme you will be asked to indicate your 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice for your placement, choosing from the list of placements offered at the time by our North Central London health care providers.

    • If your interview is successful, you will be offered a place in a specific healthcare setting (based on your priority list and available placements) but you will also get to experience working across a broad variety of health and care settings through our innovative hub-and-spoke system of placements.

  • This is a chance to earn and learn WITHOUT building a tuition fee debt.

  • You will have access to a generous NHS pension scheme and employer-specific benefits right from the start.

  • Whilst on the programme, you will be expected to gather evidence on your skills and competencies to develop a portfolio for your proficiencies and professional values.

  • You will develop an understanding of all elements o f nursing and caring for individuals with conditions such as dementia, mental health illnesses and learning disabilities/difficulties.

  • On completion you will graduate with a foundation degree in nursing. You will have the knowledge, understanding and skills to register with Nursing and Midwifery Council.

  • It is important to plan and be prepared to manage the competing demands of your job role, study and placements as the academic and clinical aspects of this course are demanding. You should expect to devote a considerable amount of your free time in order to successfully complete the course.

In North Central London, we run two TNA recruitment campaigns a year – for TNA cohorts starting in March and October.

The programme structure has specific periods of time within each academic year these are:

  • Theory weeks

    During these weeks TNAs attend university, and cannot be rostered to work any shifts, or the Sunday night that precedes these weeks.

    Annual leave cannot be taken during these periods.

  • Hub placements

    During these weeks the TNAs work within their own area of employed practice and are assessed using the Practice Assessment Document (PAD) for their part in the programme. They will work alongside a Practice Supervisor (PA) / Practice Assessor (PA) in the same way as other students, and that PA will assess them using the PAD.

    Annual leave cannot be taken during these periods.

  • Spoke Placement

    These placements are outside of the TNAs usual place of work. This is to ensure a wider range of learning opportunities, and that NMC requirements are met. The TNAs are supernumerary for these periods, as they will be unfamiliar with the areas of practice.

    Annual leave cannot be taken during these periods.

  • Non assessed time

    These are the remaining periods in the year, when the TNAs remain with their own place of work and work as TNAs but are not being summatively assessed. They will continue to learn from their practice and should be supported to use the learning opportunities that arise and complete their FLAs (reflective accounts).

Year 1

Year 2

Theory Weeks

9 weeks

9 weeks

Hub Placements

12 weeks

12 weeks

Spoke Placement

8 weeks

10 weeks

Non Assessed Time

23 weeks

21 weeks

Tri-partite reviews are scheduled 4 times per year. These are quarterly reviews of the TNAs progress undertaken by the TNA’s Manager (or nominated Deputy), the TNA themselves, and a member of the Middlesex University programme team. These will be held within the employing organisation

Some of the benefits of learning via an apprenticeship model include:

  • Learning by doing

  • Experience of seeing patients

  • Building up personal knowledge and experience

  • Discussing patients

  • Managing patients

  • Having errors corrected

  • Listening to experts' explanations

  • “Picking things up”

  • Charismatic influences

  • Learning clinical methods from practice

  • Being questioned about thought and actions about patients

  • Using knowledge and skill

  • Bite-size learning from “bits and pieces”

  • Retrieving and applying knowledge stored in memory

  • Learning from supervision

  • Receiving feedback

  • Presentation and summarising

  • Observing experts working

  • Learning from role models

  • Learning from team interactions

  • Hearing clinicians thinking aloud

  • Thinking about practice and patients

Craft knowledge in medicine: an interpretation of teaching and learning in apprenticeship [thesis].In: Milton Keynes: Open University,1998

Job description - Trainee/Student Nursing Associate

Download a template job description for a TNA/SNA based in general practice.

Download a template job description for a TNA based in secondary care (hospital).

Top tips when applying

Here's a shortlist of top tips for when you're applying to the programme:

  1. Locate all the required certificates and supporting evidence early on. The only certificates you need to include are those that provide evidence of maths and English GCSEs (grade 9 to 4, grade A to C) or Functional Skills Level 2.

  2. Ensure you submit your supporting evidence ahead of the deadline! Only applications with supporting evidence submitted within the deadline will be considered.

  3. Check your eligibility - you can email ncl.functionalskills@nhs.net if you are uncertain if your qualifications are transferable.

  4. In your application, write a short but thoughtful supporting statement, explaining why you want to become a Nursing Associate and talking about any experience you may have that makes you certain this is the right route for you. Consult the person specification to see what information and experience is marked Essential/Desirable to be guided as to what to include in your statement.

  5. Take time to prepare for your interview; read through the interview prep guide created by the Middlesex University.

  6. If there's a reason why you can't attend your interview get in touch with the person who sent you the interview invite as soon as possible to try to rearrange the time. NB This might be possible only under special circumstances, e.g., sudden illness.

  7. When expecting news from the recruitment team, check your spam inbox regularly - emails from Trac (the recruitment platform) and APTEM (the University enrolment system) are often intercepted by spam filters.

Frequently asked questions

I haven't got the right GCSE/Functional Skills. What can I do?

You won't be able to apply for the programme without evidence of Maths and English GCSEs (grade 9 to 4, grade A to C) or Functional Skills Level 2. If you don't have the right qualifications, you can receive free support with your Functional Skills training - view our guide to Functional Skills. You will be able to apply once you've completed the Functional Skills training, sat your exam and received your certificates.

What will I be paid as a Trainee Nursing Associate?

As a Trainee Nursing Associate you will be paid a Band 3 salary whilst training. Once qualified, a newly registered Nursing Associate can expect to be paid a Band 4 salary. You can view pay scales and how much each NHS band pays on the NHS Employers website.

Who will pay for my university fees?

Your university fees for the programme will be paid via the apprenticeship levy so you will not have to cover any of the university tuition costs.

When can I take holidays?

Holiday requests should be arranged with your line manager but will have to take into account University weeks and clinical placements.

How much time am I expected to spend on self-study?

You will be expected to spend a proportion of your time outside of your rostered working hours and attending the university to undertake additional study to support the achievement of your learning outcomes. This would normally require an additional 5-15 hours of study per week although this will vary from person to person. You will be expected to prioritise and manage your own workload to meet the demands of academic study.

There are other Universities offering the TNA programme - why choose this offer?

The NCL programme is a unique proposition because of the close collaboration between the Middlesex University and primary and secondary care employers in NCL. This results in a bespoke system of centrally coordinated hub-and-spoke placements which provide you with seamless access to placements across all health and care settings, regardless of which area you're primarily employed in (e.g. you might be employed in a trust but you will still get to do placements in primary care, mental health etc).

Experiencing other health and care settings is a requirement of the nursing associate programme regardless where you study, but no other Higher Education Institution offers the central coordination. In other words, if you study with other Universities, you will need to secure all mandatory placements yourself.

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