The Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship Programme: A Gateway to Nursing

By Oliver Hill

This article is the first in our series on The Value of Apprenticeships, where we discuss and explain the values of the apprenticeship programme as a whole and take a look at some of our most crucial individual programmes. Keep an eye out for more articles in future, and keep up to date with our latest articles by following us on LinkedIn.

Today we are spotlighting the Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship Programme. This apprenticeship is one of our most successful and popular programmes, helping to educate and empower healthcare staff in various support worker roles on their progression pathway to Nursing careers.


Explaining The Senior Healthcare Support Worker Role

Senior Healthcare Support Workers help registered practitioners deliver healthcare services in a range of settings. These include hospitals, communities, birth centres, care homes, hospices, schools, prisons, GP surgeries or in people's homes. A Healthcare Support role is an exciting career path which makes a massive difference to patience's lives and care experience.

The purpose of the Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship programme is to prepare, support and educate healthcare support workers in their role so that they can get the best out of their career path and serve as a gateway to nursing.


How Does The Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship Work?

There are six pathways within the Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprenticeship. Which pathway an individual apprentice takes will depend on the healthcare support role they wish to progress into.

1. Adult Nursing Support

Apprentices who choose the Adult Nursing Support pathway learn to provide crucial care for adult patients. On this pathway, apprentices are immersed in the adult care environment, learning how to support patients with varying healthcare needs, assist in their recovery, and offer compassionate care under the supervision of qualified nurses.

Career progression can lead to roles such as Senior Healthcare Support Workers and eventually to Nursing Associates or Registered Nurses with further training. Educationally, apprentices can progress to higher-level qualifications, including foundation degrees in healthcare or nursing.

2. Maternity Support

The Maternity Support pathway is perfect for those interested in the field of midwifery. This pathway offers specialised training for those drawn to maternal and neonatal care. Apprentices gain invaluable insights into supporting mothers through pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period.

Career-wise, apprentices can move into roles such as Maternity Care Assistants, with potential progression to Midwifery Assistant Practitioners and even Midwives through additional qualifications. Educationally, they can work towards a degree in midwifery upon completion of their apprenticeship.

3. Theatre Support

Apprentices in Theatre Support can advance to positions like Senior Theatre Support Workers and Operating Department Practitioners. For those fascinated by the dynamic world of surgery, the Theatre Support pathway provides a behind-the-scenes look at surgical procedures, patient preparation, and perioperative care.

With further education, apprentices may pursue qualifications leading to careers as Surgical First Assistants or even go on to study for a degree in Operating Department Practice.

4. Mental Health Support

The Mental Health Support pathway is designed for individuals committed to understanding and supporting mental health care provision, offering skills essential for enhancing patient well-being. Those on the Mental Health Support pathway can progress to roles such as Mental Health Support Worker Coordinators or Community Mental Health Workers.

Educationally, they can further their studies with qualifications in mental health nursing or psychology, paving the way towards becoming a Registered Mental Health Nurse or a Clinical Psychologist.

5. Children and Young People Support

Apprentices in this pathway focus on paediatric healthcare, learning to support the unique needs of children and young people within medical settings.

In the Children and Young People Support pathway, career progression can lead to positions such as Senior Children’s Support Workers and Paediatric Care Assistants. Educational progression can include studying for a degree in Paediatric Nursing or Child Development, opening doors to becoming a Registered Paediatric Nurse or Child Welfare Specialist.

6. Allied Health Profession - Therapy Support

This pathway is tailored for those who wish to assist in therapeutic services, working alongside physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language therapists to deliver critical patient care.

Apprentices focusing on therapy support within allied health professions can aspire to become Lead Therapy Assistants and Therapy Practitioners. Educationally, they can advance to degrees in specific therapy disciplines like Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy, leading to professional registration and practice.

7. Diagnostic Imaging Support

Didn't we say there were only six pathways? We are excited to announce that a seventh pathway—Diagnostic Imaging Support—is poised to join the fleet of pathways for the Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship.

This brand new pathway will offer specialised training in supporting diagnostic imaging processes, which is a critical component in modern healthcare diagnostics. Apprentices will learn about various imaging technologies such as X-rays, MRI, and CT scans, and how to provide support to radiography professionals during diagnostic procedures. Keep an eye out for more details on this innovative pathway that will further diversify career opportunities for our learners.

The upcoming Diagnostic Imaging Support pathway promises exciting career prospects such as Advanced Imaging Support Worker roles, with potential progression into Radiography Assistant Practitioner positions. On the educational front, apprentices can pursue further studies in radiography or medical imaging sciences, aiming for a career as a Diagnostic Radiographer.


Whichever pathway is right for the individual apprentice, all of these pathways offer a journey towards a fulfilling career that makes a real difference in patients' lives. Learners are empowered to achieve their wider career goals while upholding the highest standards of patient care.

What Do Apprentices Achieve From The Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship?

Upon the successful completion of any of the Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship pathways, apprentices are awarded a range of qualifications that are not only valuable in the healthcare sector but also recognised for further educational pursuits. Each learner earns a Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support with units accredited specific to their chosen pathway, equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary for their specialised area.

Additionally, they achieve essential Functional Skills qualifications in Maths and English, if they have not previously attained them.

UCAS Points

And the future looks brighter still. Whilst apprenticeships do not traditionally offer UCAS points, the Senior Healthcare Support Worker does attract UCAS points due to the accredited Diploma in Healthcare Support at Level 3 which is part of the standard.

As a result of this, the Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship Programme can make a massive difference to the careers and future education of those looking to undertake a healthcare support role.


Taking The Next Step In Exciting Career In Healthcare Support

The Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship Programme is a truly flexible adaptable programme for individuals looking to progress their career in healthcare. If you would like to learn more about this programme, you can view the programme overview page. Alternatively you can get in touch with us so that we can answer any questions you may have.

All of the Apprenticeships and Workshops we offer are purpose-built with accessibility and inclusion in mind. You can view our courses or contact us to find out more about how we can empower you or your workforce with apprenticeships or training programmes.

This article is part of our series on The Value Of Apprenticeships, where we discuss our experiences in the apprenticeships programme and how it can benefit healthcare organisations and their staff. If you would like to hear more about our experiences on this subject, please check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook to hear about our future posts as they are published!

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Published by: Oliver Hill

Job Title: Head of Apprenticeships and Commercial

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