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For employers

Does your nursing workforce need extra capacity? Are you interested in developing a Nursing Associate?

  • In North Central London, we run an award-winning Trainee Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme in partnership with the Middlesex University.

  • The programme is run as a collaborative of primary, social care, and secondary health care providers. It operates on a unique system of reciprocal placements, managed by the University, without any need for employer support with securing placements.

  • The NCL Training Hub coordinates TNA recruitment on behalf of GP and social care employers and provides educational support for learners on the programme.

View information for candidates.

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We are now looking for employers interested in developing existing employees or externally recruited candidates through the North Central London nursing associate apprenticeship programme commencing in October 2024.

Recruitment timeline:

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Join a Q&A session!

Please see the below flyer below for details on the TNA Q&A sessions and the link to join.

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Key benefits of hosting TNAs:

  • TNAs apply what they learn on placements and in academic settings which benefits the practice/PCN/care home from the start.

  • In the shift from HCA/care assistant to NA there is a fundamental change in their professional identity and clinical capabilities, for example,

    • taking cervical smears and doing childhood vaccinations - outside the scope of a HCA,

    • becoming in charge of a unit in a care home - outside the scope of a care assistant.

  • NAs are registered with the NMC and work to a code and standards of proficiency - view Standards of proficiency for registered nursing associates (NMC).

  • TNA/NA roles are becoming an important part of a new future proof model way of working for PCN/practice/care home in developing their multi-professional and multi-disciplinary team.

  • Long-term: freeing up capacity for your registered nurses to undertake more advanced roles.

More benefits

Other benefits of the TNA apprenticeship programme:

  • Address and close any skills gaps quickly through on-the-job training

  • Boost the skills of your workforce to increase productivity and improve business performance

  • Ability to develop your existing support workforce and attract new talent

  • Increasing staff retention by offering clear and structured career progression to valued HCAs, care assistants, and admin team

  • Improve the experience of patients and service users

  • Maximise use of the apprenticeship levy

  • Support widening participation initiatives, in turn encouraging improved employee satisfaction, reducing staff turnover, and cutting recruitment costs for new hires

More information about how the NA role compares to GPN role is available at nursing-associates-in-general-practic1.pdf (ncltraininghub.org)

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TNA programme - key information

Duration of the apprenticeship

24 months

Start dates

October, March (twice per year)

Now recruiting employers interested in hiring TNAs who will be starting the programme 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

Cost to practice

  • Salary cost: between £22,816 and £24,336 pa (depending on allocated employer there may be also a high-cost area supplement of between £4,313 - £5,132pa) - can be fully funded via ARRS if TNA is employed via PCN

  • Time from a dedicated Nurse Assessor

Funding available

  • Incentive funding: £4,000 per TNA per year.

  • Care home employers ONLY: additional £6,000 grant per TNA is available from North London Councils.

  • Levy fee transfer funding to cover the cost of the programme (approx. £15,000)

Download an info sheet with summary information about the TNA/NA role and the North Central London Nursing Associate apprenticeship programme.

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Why hire a TNA?

Nursing associates (NAs) are members of the nursing team, who have gained a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree awarded by a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved provider, involving two years of higher-level study.

This training enables them to perform more complex and significant tasks than a healthcare assistant (HCA) or a care assistant.

Please see below a guidance relating to the scope of practice for NAs working in primary care, published by NHS South West London.

Core proficiency tasks

Registered NAs working under (non-direct) supervision of a Registered Nurse can undertake:

  • Venepuncture

  • Height, weight and BMI checks

  • Lifestyle advice

  • Blood Pressure

  • ECGs

  • Wound care (non-complex)

  • Measure and interpretation of blood glucose levels

  • Diabetic Foot Checks

  • Intramuscular (IM) and Subcutaneous (SC) Injections

  • Vaccinations (Flu, Pneumonia, Coronavirus)

  • Measurement and recording of peak flows

  • Health Checks

  • Delegation to HCAs

The NA is accountable for accepting tasks delegated, ensuring they are using their skills and knowledge to work within their scope of practice. They will be required to contribute to service development and demonstrate and contribute to their own, and others, professional development.

Other tasks - additional training required

These skills and extended roles require additional training and assessment of competence before undertaking them. The NA should be working to national, local and practice polices, as appropriate, under supervision of a Registered Nurse to deliver the following:

  • Ear irrigation

  • Travel consultations and vaccinations

  • Baby, childhood and adult vaccinations

  • Cervical screening

  • Supporting Learning Disability reviews

  • Sexual health screening and history taking

  • Annual contraceptive checks

  • Complex wound care, including compression bandaging

Please note Annual reviews for asthma should not be carried out by NAs as these require a

management plan, and as this constitutes planning of care, this is the responsibility of a registered nurse. NAs can undertake the 4–8-week follow-up review of patients with asthma who have had changes to their management plan following their annual review.

Please refer to local and national guidelines for minimum training requirements and

competencies expected before undertaking an extended role.

All medications should be delivered only under Patient Specific Directions (PSDs).

Source: NHS South West London - Working In Primary Care (gs-cdn.co.uk)

How and when to hire a TNA?

How to hire a TNA?

Due to the shortage of registered nursing associates, the best route to hiring one is by employing a trainee nursing associate and supporting their training via an apprenticeship route. The NCL Training Hub facilitates recruitment of TNAs on behalf of primary and adult social care employers in the North Central London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, and Islington. You can employ:

  • An existing member of staff - staff members, e.g., HCAs, receptionists, who can apply to start a TNA apprenticeship.

    • NB They will need to have GCSE pass in Maths and English or functional skills level 2, be willing to work full-time for the duration of the programme, and to have lived in the UK for three years.

    • More information on how to obtain the correct Functional Skills qualifications is available at Functional Skills (ncltraininghub.org)

  • An external applicant - you can also hire a new TNA apprentice from outside your organisation if you have no internal candidates at this time. The candidate will be initially interviewed by the NCL Training Hub and Middlesex University from a pool of external applicants and you will have a chance to meet and select your preferred candidates at a F2F event.

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When to hire a TNA?

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

  1. First you will need to submit an Expression of Interest as an employer.

  2. You will then be contacted by the Practice Educator team to meet and discuss the TNA role in detail.

  3. Once applications for candidates close, all candidates (recruited from within your staff members and externally recruited) are interviewed by a panel consisting of a representative of the Middlesex University and the NCL Training Hub.

  4. Successful external candidates are then invited to a face-to-face 'speed recruitment' event where all interested employers will have a chance to interview and select their preferred candidates.

  5. Once all candidates have been allocated to employers, employers need to issue an offer letter to their candidates and commence pre-employment checks (incl. DBS, Occupational Health, Hep B, references checks) in time to be completed for the programme's start.

    In the meantime, candidates need to go through the enrolment process with the Middlesex University.

View the full timeline for March: https://www.ncltraininghub.org/assets/nursing/march-recruitment-timeline.png

View the full timeline for October recruitment: https://www.ncltraininghub.org/assets/nursing/nursingassociate/tna-march-recruitment-timeline-1712220598.png

Employer readiness

To ensure a quality learning environment for all learners, employers interested in participating in the programme must be able to:

  • Have capacity amongst your existing nursing workforce to provide support to the trainees’ learning. You will need to identify a Registered Nurse/ Registered Nursing Associate in your organisation who will act as a nominated practice assessor for the trainee.

    • The Assessor needs to be around when the TNA is undertaking their hub placement – there are four 2-week long placements in year 1 and four 2-week long placements in year 2.

    • Otherwise, all other clinicians need to also take responsibility for the student. NB TNAs don’t need to be supervised at all times, only when they are learning a new skill.

  • Secure dedicated time for assessors and supervisors to support the trainees’ learning

  • Prove they are a good learning environment by undergoing an educational audit with Middlesex University - this is coordinated and supported by NCL Training Hub

  • Offer protected time for the TNA to study and attend spoke placements

  • Accept and induct other, rotating TNAs on their ‘spoke’ placements in your practice/PCN/care home

  • Employ the TNA on a 37.5h contract for a minimum of 24 months within the pay band equivalent to AfCh band 3.

Practice supervision and assessment

Standards for student supervision and assessment (SSSA) set out the NMC expectations for the learning, support, and supervision of students in the practice environment. They also set out how students are assessed for theory and practice.

To join the TNA apprenticeship programme, employers must have capacity amongst their existing nursing workforce to provide support to the trainees’ learning. You will need to identify a Registered Nurse/ Registered Nursing Associate in your organisation who will act as a nominated practice assessor for the trainee, whilst all other clinicians working in the practice will need to act as practice supervisors.

  • Practice assessors are registered nurses, midwives, and nursing associates, or in the case of prescribing programmes any qualified prescriber, who assess a student’s practice learning for a placement or a series of placements. A nominated practice assessor also works with the academic assessor to make recommendations for progression for the student they are assigned to.

    • The Assessor needs to be around when the TNA is undertaking their hub placement – there are four 2-week long placements in year 1 and four 2-week long placements in year 2.

  • The practice supervisor can be any registered health and social care professional working in a practice environment. They’ve been prepared and supported to take up their role and have up-to-date knowledge and experience relevant to the student they are supervising. All clinical staff including HCAs and nursing associates in any practice learning environment should be able to undertake a practice supervisor role.

    • NB TNAs don’t need to be supervised at all times, only when they are learning a new skill.

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The NCL Training Hub provides regular SSSA training for clinical staff working as practice assessors or supervisors as well as those NEW to supervision and assessment. Contact Barbara Bryden for more information Barbara.bryden@nhs.net

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Accepting other students on spoke placements

Whilst the TNA you employ is away on spoke placements (outside of their usual place of work), you will be required to host and accommodate another TNA(s) coming in for their spoke placement, providing them with an appropriate induction and learning support whilst they’re working with you. The aim is to show the incoming TNA skills and career paths within your field.

Funding

How is the role funded?

  • Support funding from HEE/NHSE is paid to the employer through the NCL Training Hub.

    • Available for each TNA apprentice

    • Payment is £8,000 i.e. £4,000 per year over two years

  • For care homes only - additional incentive funding of £6,000 per TNA is now offered by North London Council on top of the NHSE offer.

  • Salary costs – the employer pays the salary: Band 3 AfCh equivalent

    NB This can be fully funded through PCN ARRS

  • University costs – covered by a levy fee or levy fee transfer – no cost to employer or the apprentice.

Entry requirements for candidates

The programme is open to candidates from a broad range of backgrounds e.g., previous health care experience is helpful but not required.

Entry requirements for candidates:

  • Evidence of Maths and English GCSEs (grade 9 to 4, grade A to C) or Functional Skills Level 2. Find out more about Functional Skills.

  • Have lived in the UK for 3 years or more with the right to work and study in England with no restrictions. The right to live and work in the UK must cover the duration of the apprenticeship programme.

  • Disclosure and Barring service check, and occupational health confirmation that is dated within the previous 12 months.

  • Ability to study to foundation degree level 5

  • Minimum age requirement: 18+ years old

  • Additionally, if applying to work in General Practice candidates:

    o   must have previous health/care experience.

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

Applicants will be required to demonstrate the appropriate values and attitudes for the programme in accord with the NMC Standards.

How is the programme delivered?

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

Apprentice nursing associates will complete 2,300 hours of theoretical and clinical training across the programme (NMC, 2018). University based teaching will take place on block week release delivery throughout the academic year.

As well as learning at their main place of employment apprentice nursing associates will spend 675 hours in alternative placements ensuring over the course of the apprenticeship that they develop a wide range of clinical skills across a wide range of settings. 

Whilst your TNAs are on spoke placements, you will receive rotating TNAs coming in from other health care settings (trust/mental health/care home) to gain experience in primary care.

The Trainee Nursing Associates are employed in full-time posts: 37.5 hours/week.

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In the North Central London ICS, the TNA programme is delivered in partnership with the Middlesex University.

The programme is delivered in a block system i.e.

  1. Theory weeks

Unlike on other apprenticeship programmes, university based teaching takes place in week-long blocks spread out throughout the academic year. During the Theory Weeks, the TNAs attend university, and cannot be rostered to work any shifts or the Sunday night that precedes these weeks.

  • 9 theory weeks in Year 1

  • 9 theory weeks in Year 2 of the programme.

  1. Hub placements

During these weeks, the TNAs work within their own area of employed practice. This development time will include learning new relevant tasks in their role, embedding knowledge, practical workplace training, spending development time with their Line Manager, attending online or face-to-face courses and time spent writing assignments/assessments or directed self-study hours.

  • two 6-week-long hub placements in Year 1

  • two 6-week-long hub placements in Year 2

  1. Spoke placements

As well as learning at their main place of employment apprentice nursing associates will spend 675 hours in alternative placements ensuring over the course of the apprenticeship that they develop a wide range of clinical skills across a wide range of settings. There are 4 spoke placements of 2 weeks in year 1 of the programme, and 5 in year 2. These are outside of the TNAs usual place of work. The placement time is to enable the apprentices to develop the breadth of experience required for a generic role, in the four fields of nursing as a part of their Page 3 of 9 programme. The TNAs are supernumerary for these periods, as they will be unfamiliar with the areas of practice. A Spoke Placement booklet is provided within the Ongoing Record of Achievement (OAR) Part B for completion and submission.

  • four 2-week-long spoke placements Year 1

  • five 2-week-long spoke placements in Year 2

  1. Non-assessed weeks

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 Formative Learning Assessments (FLAs).

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Protected Learning Time

Protected learning time is designated time in which apprentices are supported to learn. The NMC set out the requirements for the protected learning time required during this apprenticeship within the ‘Standards for pre-registration nursing associate programmes,’ (2018). Employers are required to give written assurance that apprentices will be released for the following protected learning time during the apprenticeship programme:

  • At least 20% of the programme for academic study

  • At least 20% of the programme time for external placements

  • the remainder of the required programme hours

More information on the NMCs’ Standards for pre-registration nursing associate programmes is available at Standards for pre-registration nursing associate programmes (nmc.org.uk)

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Example of an academic calendar from the March 2022 cohort. NB An up-to-date version will be shared with you before the commencement of the programme.

Support offer from NCL Training Hub

The NCL Training Hub offers a comprehensive support package for employers joining the TNA programme. This includes:

Pre-recruitment Q&A sessions

Hiring a new member of staff comes with a lot of questions and we run a regular Q&A session to address queries from employers and learners.

Recruitment support

The NCL Training Hub coordinates the recruitment process of TNA candidates up to the point of identifying successful candidates who can be allocated to individual practices or PCNs who expressed interest in hiring TNAs.

Allocations of candidates are done to best match individual requirements of both practices and candidates.

Assessor support

NCL Training Hub can provide employers with support in identifying appropriate assessors and signposting them to SSSA training.

Education support

All TNAs receive ongoing support from a team of NCL Nurse Educators. This includes:

·       Individual pastoral care and regular check-ins with TNAs

·       Monthly NCL TNA Forum

·       Monthly education sessions*

·       WhatsApp group for peer support

*NB Attendance at the monthly education sessions is mandatory therefore TNAs must be released by the employer to attend.

Tri-partite reviews

The central educator team hosted by the NCL Training Hub supports employers in the quarterly tri-partite review with the Middlesex University.

Assessor and Supervisor forum

The NCL Nurse Educators also run a TNA Assessor and Supervisor forum which meets every 6 weeks and provides peer support and a community of practice for Assessors and Supervisors.

Induction support

The NCL Training Hub has developed an induction pack for employers that outlines best practice and can be shared with individual employers to inform their own induction process.

HEE support funding

The NCL Training Hub coordinates the release of the HEE support funding for employers. Employers are entitled to £4,000 a year (£8,000 over the course of the programme per TNA) of support funding from HEE to help cover the costs of assessment/supervision and the extra support provided to the TNA.

Academic fees – levy transfer

The TNA programme fees amount to £15,000 – these can be fully subsidised through a levy transfer. We provide support to employers with applying for a levy transfer and completing the process.

Please view a template SLA that outlines all terms and conditions.

Why choose the NCL x Middlesex programme?

We are aware of other universities, e.g. BPP, also offering the TNA apprenticeship programme.

The key differences between the NCL collaborative with Middlesex University and other programmes include:

  • full support with finding and coordinating placements for learners

  • a comprehensive education support for learners, assessors and supervisors via the NCL Training Hub

If you're considering choosing a different provider/programme, please get in touch to discuss

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Contact us

If you have questions about the apprenticeship programme, recruitment process, terms and conditions of employing TNAs, please contact the NCL Training Hub Nursing Associate team at nclicb.tnapceducators@nhs.net
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Join a Q&A session

We run monthly Q&A events for employers and candidates.

Click Here to watch our Q&A covering Trainee Nursing Associates in Care Homes

Extra reading

Read more:

Case study

Emma and Dawn share their perspectives of introducing the Trainee Nursing Associate role into their practice. Read the full case study here.

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