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LLR Nursing Associate Programme

Nursing Associate Programme

Are you interested in a new challenge? Do you want to develop your skills and knowledge?    

The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) Nursing Associate Programme began with the first ‘pilot’ cohorts in 2017 and has since had over 200 graduates who are now registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).  The LLR School of Nursing Associates offers a unique approach to programme delivery, you will study a Foundation Degree awarded by De Montfort University and be taught by Educators employed by University Hospitals of Leicester.  This unique partnership ensures that your education is firmly embedded within practice whilst maintaining the academic rigour expected of a university.  

Programme commencement dates are October, February and May each academic year

The LLR Nursing Associate Programme is delivered at the LLR School of Nursing Associates based on the Glenfield Hospital site in partnership with practice partners from across Leicestershire, including Leicestershire Partnership Trust, General Practice, LOROS, Rainbows, Nuffield and Social Care.  

De Montfort University DMU logo

Trainee Nursing Associate Programme

The two-year apprenticeship programme combines both academic and work-based learning in the physical, psychological and public health aspects of care from pre-conception to end of life.

The programme is structured around a number of clinical placements which can include, trainees spend 15 weeks a year in placement (3 X 5 week blocks):

  • Adult, Mental Health, Child and Learning Disability
  • At home, close to home and within the hospital

The programme consists of 9 academic modules studied at Level 4 in Year 1 and Level 5 in Year 2; the combination of theory and practice modules leads to the award of Foundation Degree Science; Nursing Associate.

Modules have been developed to ensure that trainee Nursing Associates will have the knowledge, skills and professional attributes to join the NMC register as a Registered Nursing Associate.

The University costs for the programme are fully funded using the Apprenticeship Levy, and successful completion of the programme leads to a Foundation Degree as a Nursing Associate.

Nursing Associate entry criteria

The minimum entry requirements are:

A substantive HCA post (or similar care worker post)

GCSEs Grade C or above in Maths and English Language / New GCSE Grade 4-9 in Maths and English Language OR Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English or Equivalent (not entry level 2). You will need to provide all of your certificates for your qualifications.

You will need to meet the visa requirements to access an apprenticeship and have been resident in the UK for a minimum of three years.

You will need to be employed to work a minimum of 30 hours a week for the duration of the Apprenticeship.

‘Fast Track’ opportunities are advertised twice a year in February and September offering individuals who are new to care or are looking towards a career change the opportunity to join the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust through the Health Care Assistant Induction Programme.  On successful completion of the Care Certificate and associated competencies you would then be able to step onto the next programme.

Pre-programme Workshops

A two day workshop has been developed for people interested in commencing the Programme with the intention that you will have a developed understanding of the demands of the programme and the expectations of the role.  This workshop aims to provide you with more detail and to the support available and ensure that anyone with additional needs is aware of how the team and De Montfort University can help you to be successful in your chosen career pathway.

Pre-programme workshops will go into detail as to the content and management of the programme, including academic modules and practice-based assessment.

Interested in applying?

If you would like more information on the LLR Nursing Associate Programme, please contact Lois or Tommy; Email:  TraineeNurseAssociate@uhl-tr.nhs.uk

Programme Leader: Annabel Coulson Email: Annabel.coulson@uhl-tr.nhs.uk

Our Trainees

There is a diverse range of trainees currently undertaking the programme from across health care providers throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland; from primary and secondary care and from both NHS and Private organisations.  All trainees are supported by their employers to undertake the programme, including time for study and external placements.

All trainees are easily identifiable with a Nursing Associate badge; they have also been provided with a white tunic top and grey lanyard demoting the year of study.

Case Studies

Some of our trainees have given their first-person accounts of the programme to share an insight into the course. Read their stories below:

Kirsty Hinckinbottom (based at the Children's Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary)

Dominika Raginia-Ptak (based at LOROS Hospice)

Donna Bruce (based on cardiology ward 28, Glenfield Hospital)


How long will the trainees be away from their clinical areas?

Trainees will study for three days a week for the first six weeks, this period will commence the first two modules and will ensure that all academic support can be given and mandatory training to ensure placements can be accessed anywhere throughout the county with all service users.

They will then have one study day per week = 7.5 hours

There will be a further two weeks in the summer and at the start of the second year when there will be additional study over three days.

What supervision do trainees need?

Trainees will need a registered healthcare professional to take the lead in supporting them through each placement experience (a Practice Supervisor); they will need to be able to work alongside them and support trainees to access a range of opportunities to facilitate the achievement of outcomes.

In base areas trainees will need a Practice Assessor who will make a judgement based on the evidence provided by the trainee and Practice Supervisors as to the ability of the trainee to enter the NMC Register.

Will trainees be supernumerary?

Not within Base Areas. Trainees will still be employed and able to undertake many of their existing roles; however, they need to be supported to undertake learning in practice under the supervision of a registered professional which may mean that they have to be relieved of certain duties.

Pathway opportunities should be supported to enable trainees to experience and understand the patient journey.

Can trainees continue to undertake roles for which they have been trained?

Yes. For example, if an HCA has been trained to cannulate or perform venepuncture, they will be asked to provide evidence of competence for practice outside of base areas in their original Trust; trainees who access placement in another organisation will need to be directly supervised to ensure competence in line with local policy

What are alternative placements?

During the two-year programme trainees must experience placements in different settings; care in hospital, care closer to home and care at home to be able to evidence the transferability of their skills.

These will take place three times a year in five-week blocks and will be planned into each individual programme to ensure that any pre agreed annual leave is considered; annual leave cannot be taken during these weeks.