Become one of the first trainee nursing associates (TNAs) to qualify in our new Health and Care Academy at Cramlington

Our Health and Care Academy is due to open this June and while recruitment for our first cohort has now closed, we will be recruiting a second cohort later in 2024.

A nursing associate is a registerable qualification with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – this course to become a TNA is a foundation degree apprenticeship – so you can earn while you learn with us.

Your study time will be split between 50% theory at the Health and Care Academy and 50% clinical practice where you will be exposed to simulation with the use of our state-of-the-art facilities, learning clinical skills in a safe environment with highly experienced staff and our patient, carer and public involvement participants.

On completion of the two-year course, you can register as a nursing associate with the NMC, you then may choose to apply for further education to become a qualified nurse – so your career journey with us really starts here.

What do we require to apply?

  • GCSE maths and English at grade 4 or above or level 2 functional skills in numeracy and literacy
  • 12 months' experience in health or care

For more information, email

Enrolling on a Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Foundation Degree Programme is significant commitment. The integration of theory and practice at the front line of patient care ensures that as your clinical competency is established, the development of your professional attitude and behaviours is consolidated. The underpinning theoretical knowledge across every module of the programme will be substantiated by engagement with accompanying module booklets and there will be formative assessments throughout the programme.

The duration of the programme is 2 years. You will spend a minimum of 556 hours off the job learning. The apprenticeship curriculum is centred around work-based learning in clinical practice environments. You will apply classroom/theoretical learning in real-world situations, reinforcing your knowledge and reducing the theory-practice gap. Your hours in practice will be supported by Practice Supervisors, who will provide encouragement and support to facilitate your achievement of programme competencies set against NMC standards.

You will have a clinical work base where you will spend you first year of the programme and change to a different work base in year two.  You will experience a variety of placements during your off-the job learning in your supernumerary phases.

Teaching and learning are supported both in-person at Northumbria Health and Care Academy and via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment known as Canvas. Through Canvas, you will be able to access programme and module materials including your Practice Assessment Document (PAD) and On-going Record of Achievement (ORA).

To complete this programme, you need to meet the NMC (2018) Nursing Associates Proficiency Standards. Your Practice Assessor in each area will be responsible for confirming that you meet these standards, or competencies, whilst you are working clinically.  Your learning will be supported by a Clinical Educator based at the Health and Care Academy, and you will benefit from the day-to-day guidance of a Practice Supervisor on your work-base and on your supernumerary practice placements.

Where will I be training while on programme?

The Trainee Nursing Associate undertakes a wide variety of placements encompassing acute, community, mental health, learning disability and child health settings. Allowing the Nursing Associate to work in any area on completion of their Foundation Degree.


Is the Nursing Associate Programme branch specific?

No – the Nursing Associate is a generic role and on completion will not be, for example, an Adult or Child Health Nursing Associate. They will, however, be able to work in any speciality.


Will I be supernumerary on placement?

As the TNA programme is a work-based learning apprenticeship, you will be counted in staffing numbers while in your practice base area. TNAs are only supernumerary when they are on other clinical placements within the Trust.


When a Trainee Nursing Associate has come from a different experience background to a new placement how can the team support them on placement?

The Trainee Nursing Associate is allocated to different placements to gain wide nursing experience. The team will orientate the trainee, allocate a Practice Assessor and Practice Supervisors in order that the trainee will gain wide learning opportunities and teaching from staff about the care provided by the team.


What will I be paid whilst on programme?

This is a Band 4 role. The Trainee Nursing Associates are employed as a Band 3 by the trust during their 2-year training period.


When I have qualified, will I be able to do everything a nurse can do?

The Nursing Associates cannot do all the nursing activities a registered nurse can. Prior to beginning the course Trainee Nursing Associates need to have experience in providing care to people. On completion, they qualify with a Foundation Degree but unlike student nurses haven’t completed a management programme. This means they must always work under the supervision of the registered nurse but will have all the clinical skills and nursing skills required to care for a group of patients.


Will I be able to progress to become a Registered Nurse in the future?

Yes – The Nursing Associate Foundation Degree will allow entry onto a shorter pre-registration nurse training programme. You can apply for the Registered Nursing Degree Apprenticeship following your successful completion of the TNA programme. You do not have to apply for this programme immediately; you may choose to build your skills and experience as a Nursing Associate before moving on to registered nursing.