"Huighly recommend the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, especially to people already involved in teh NHS or healthcare work. It offers opportunities to progress whilst receiving a wage". Michelle Bir


Michelle Bird, Nursing Associate Apprentice graduate, recently graduated from Sheffield University, and is now making a major contribution to the fight against Covid-19.

Michelle’s apprenticeship role is one of 100 that have been introduced to help build the capacity of the local nursing workforce and deliver high-quality care while supporting registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical duties.

Michelle completed 3,000 hours of learning and more than 2,000 hours of work placements in local hospitals over her two year programme, which continued throughout the pandemic.

Michelle said: “I was attracted to this new role because it offered progression in my career. The apprenticeship has helped me gain new skills, confidence and I have developed both personally and professionally. I believe this will benefit future job roles and employment opportunities. I found the apprenticeship rewarding and gained a wide range of knowledge which has given me the ability to assist caring for patients and understanding their requirements.

“I would highly recommend the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, especially to people already involved in the NHS or healthcare work. The apprenticeship offers opportunities to progress whilst receiving a wage which can have a huge impact on your personal life.”

Lynne Firth, Director of Apprenticeships at the University of Sheffield’s Health Sciences School, said: “We are making a major contribution to the fight against the pandemic as this programme refused to be haltered, with local hospitals and healthcare providers continuing to make nearly 1,000 diverse work placement opportunities available to our students.

“Many students were directly caring for Covid-19 patients and to support the employers, we made the transition to online learning and virtual clinical skills in order to reduce the impact on teaching and assessments.”

Suzanne Gillott, Vocational Services Manager at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity to work with all the hospitals and health care providers across South Yorkshire to pioneer the new role of the Nursing Associate. Working collectively to ensure that all students experienced benchmarked learning and a variety of alternative placement opportunities has been very successful.

“The challenge of the pandemic and transferring to online learning has brought the best out of all in the partnership. Through clear communication and rapid planning by the University of Sheffield and placement providers, students got the experience they needed and deserved leading to the successful completion of their course and employment in their host organisation.

“Our Trust is really proud of the achievements of the first cohort of Nursing Associates and wish them success on their next steps of their career journey.”

There are currently another 300 Nursing Associates working towards their apprenticeships with the University of Sheffield, and an additional Advanced Clinical Practitioner Apprenticeship programme also planned to start later in the year.

Find out more about Nursing Associate Apprenticeships at the University of Sheffield.