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Nursing apprentice partnership shortlisted for national award


Private Health Care provider, Cygnet Health Care, has been shortlisted for an award for its partnership working with the University of Wolverhampton’s Apprenticeship Hub.

Cygnet Health Care, a leading independent provider of specialist mental health care services, is one of the first providers to introduce Nursing Associate Foundation Apprenticeships into the independent sector, as a way of addressing the national shortage of registered nurses.

The partnership has been shortlisted for the Personnel Today Awards 2018 in the category of Apprenticeship Employer of the Year alongside companies such as Barclays and Direct Line Group.

Michele Roberts, Head of the Apprenticeship Hub at the University, said: “It’s wonderful that the partnership with Cygnet Health Care has been recognised at national level.

“The Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme has benefited from the pilot programme the University operated with a number of partner organisations last year.  We have worked extensively with employers in building a programme that meets their requirements, NMC requirements as well as ensuring the appropriate support mechanisms are in place for our Apprentices along the way.” 

Mandy Blanchard, Head of Learning & Development at Cygnet, said: “The bespoke programme takes the form of an apprenticeship, where the participants work in our hospitals, for a minimum of 30 hours a week and spend one day a week studying and being supported by lecturers from the University of Wolverhampton.

“We are pleased to be helping address the national nurse shortage through this unique apprenticeship programme and it’s great that this has been acknowledged with an award shortlisting.

“We’re so excited to be helping some of our most dedicated and motivated support workers in their own career development as well as providing the individuals in our care with a fantastic team of highly-trained and passionate professionals.”

Twenty-one Cygnet employees who work for the organisation as support workers are studying to become nursing associates through the new Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprenticeship, which was launched by the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing at the University’s Walsall Campus in March this year.

The role of a nursing associate aims to bridge the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses, enabling nurses to spend more time on clinical duties and take more of a lead in decisions about patient care. Nursing associates are an important part of Cygnet’s strategy to simultaneously provide greater career development opportunities for their support workers, while also further improving the support they provide for the individuals in their care.

Upon completion of the two-year Nursing Associate course, the programme participants will continue to study and work for a further two years to become registered nurses.

The Cygnet programme follows a successful trial run by Health Education England in the NHS, where pilot schemes have resulted in a commitment to train a further 12,500 Nurse Associates over the next two years.

The University offers Higher and Degree Apprenticeships in Chartered Management (CMDA), Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Management with pathways for Civil Engineering, Built Environment and Architecture, Chartered Surveying, Manufacturing Engineering, Product Design & Development Engineer, Chartered Legal Executive and Healthcare Science Practitioner Degree Apprenticeships.

Future Higher and Degree Apprenticeships will include Digital Technologies, Policing, Social Work, Nursing and Paramedic Degree Apprenticeships.

Over 150 apprentices are already studying for Higher and Degree level qualifications at the University. For more information about Degree Apprenticeships call: 01902 321000. For more information about Cygnet, please contact Morgan Rossiter (Charlotte Cheal, Pippa Wiltshire, Stefan Colligan) by emailing:  or call 0203 195 3240.

The winners will be revealed on Wednesday 21st November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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