Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship
In August 2020, Health Education England announced a new funding package worth up to £172 million for employers to support recruitment and training of Registered Nurse Degree Apprentices, as part of the Government manifesto commitment to increase the number of Registered Nurses.
This page contains frequently asked questions, resources, useful links and tips to help you recruit and/or manage a registered nurse degree apprentice and navigate the available funding.
It is anticipated that the new funding package will increase the uptake of registered nurse degree apprentices by 2000 a year, with at least 1400 additional Nursing and Midwifery Council Registered Nurses by 2025.
The funding package is exclusively for the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA) programme, which typically runs over 3-4 years, and now includes ‘top up degrees’ for Nursing Associates and Assistant Practitioners, which takes around 2-3 years.
The RNDA campaign includes an ‘employer support package’ to address concerns and help employers with the costs associated with the apprenticeship:
The levy is payable by employers with a pay bill of over £3 million each year. You can only use funds in your levy account to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment. Apprentices must work at least 50% of the time in England. Each apprenticeship has a funding band allocated to it and employers can only use up to the funding band maximum for that apprenticeship from their levy money. The maximum funding band for the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship is £27,000.
If the costs of training and assessment go over the funding band maximum, you will need to pay the difference with other funds from your own budget.
You can’t use funds in your levy account to pay for other costs associated with your apprentices (such as wages, statutory licences to practise, travel and subsidiary costs, work placement programmes or the setting up of an apprenticeship programme).
What does a Registered Nurse do?
Registered nurses work in the NHS, the independent and voluntary sector in a variety of healthcare settings including a hospital, someone’s home, in the community, social care or in public health. A registered nurse interacts with a variety of service users, families and carers, and with an extensive range of health and care professionals and other agencies including social services, police, probation, prisons, housing, education, language interpreters and third sector agencies. They work with, support and facilitate the learning of a range of individuals from other health and care professions. Nurses usually work various shift patterns which enable care to be provided 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days of the year. Registered nurses are a key part of the multidisciplinary teams that meet the integrated health and care needs of patients and service users.
‘Registered nurse’ is a statutorily regulated profession and the standards for proficiency are set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). There are four fields of practice that nurses work in:
Read more about the different Roles in nursing here.
Many people who apply to become a registered nurse apprentice will already be working in health or care, usually in a support role, and have significant experience of what it is like to work in the sector. Others may apply to become a registered nurse apprentice straight from school or college or as a career change from another sector. It is anticipated that a significant number of registered nurse apprentices will be progressing from being a Nursing Associate.
The RNDA is at degree level, which means that all applicants will need to achieve the same high standards and in-depth study expected from nursing students on traditional degree courses. Before becoming an apprentice, the applicant will typically need to have achieved English and maths (level 2 or equivalent), exceptions to this may be made by the approved education provider. They will also have to evidence that they meet the academic and/or experiential criteria set out by the employer and their partner education provider. There will be a selection process that they need to go through to secure their employment as an apprentice and their place on the degree programme.
The RNDA is employer-led. This means that the registered nurse degree apprentice is employed whilst studying at an approved education institution and undertaking a range of practice placements. Placements may be outside of their primary place of employment so that registered nurse degree apprentices gain the full range of skills and knowledge required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for registration by the end of their apprenticeship.
Employers and training providers work together to ensure that the apprentice receives all the relevant on-programme training and is ready to pass both their degree and the end point assessment at the end of their apprenticeship.
The RNDA standard sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the apprentice has to meet. You can download the standard document below. An outline of how they will be assessed at the end of their apprenticeship can be found in the assessment document. By successfully completing the RNDA, apprentices meet the requirements for entry to the Nursing and Midwifery Council statutory register and can apply to register as a nurse.
Training providers and End Point Assessment Organisations must be registered with the ESFA and, in the case of the RNDA, with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as an approved training provider. You can see which providers and EPAOs are currently offering the RNDA by clicking on the links below.
- Case studies
Routes in and routes out
Registered nurses play a vital role in providing, leading and coordinating care that is compassionate, evidence-based, and person-centred. They are supported by a wider nursing team which provides an entry route into the profession and career opportunities after they have registered. Many of these roles are also available as apprenticeships.
Click here to visit our pathways tool to explore this further.
- Employer engagement events power point slides
- EOI forms RNDA & Top up RNDA for NA and APs
- Procurement guide
- The RNDA Return on Investment (ROI) tool
- An example Registered Nurse Apprentice job description (Band 3) acute trust
- An example organisational investment proposal or business case for RNDAs
- How to fund RNDAs printables
- FAQs for Registered Nurse Degree apprentices, employers and educators
Get in touch
If you have questions, or need help please contact the HEE team on firstname.lastname@example.org or email your local Relationship Manager for Apprenticeships:
- North West – Gemma Hall email@example.com
- North East and Yorkshire – Fay Lane firstname.lastname@example.org
- Midlands – Liz Sahu email@example.com
- East of England – Rob Brooks firstname.lastname@example.org
- London – Jennifer Stone email@example.com
- South East – Elaine Lancaster firstname.lastname@example.org
- South West – James Orpin-Wright email@example.com