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Undergraduate study
  • Course changes for 2020: for a safe environment and a great student and learning experience.

Course overview

As a higher apprentice you will be in employment in a health-related role while studying part time for a work-based foundation degree in health and social care practice. The higher apprenticeship offers you the opportunity to extend your clinical skills and also identify and develop your understanding of the theory underpinning practice.

The course has been developed in consultation with senior managers and employers to meet the education and training requirements of assistant/support workers across all health and social care services and can lead to employment as an assistant practitioner. The higher apprenticeship recognises the work place as a centre of knowledge building and supports you by combining opportunities with the workplace and the learning environment of the University. It offers a range of modules to support your continuing personal and professional development, whether you work in health, social or community care. Throughout your studies you are supported by a practice mentor and academic tutor.

Routes currently available include (subject to demand): radiography, adult nursing, mental health, learning disabilities, rehabilitation, biomedical science and perioperative care. Some specialist routes, such as perioperative care and radiography, can only be accessed at the main campus.

Professional approval

Outstanding provision for higher apprenticeships
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Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

You develop the foundations of and enhance the underpinning rationale of your current practice. You go on to develop your skills and understanding, promoting evidence-based practice. The subjects you study inform your practice, such as consent and confidentiality, communication skills, infection control, anatomy and pathophysiology, specialist skills and knowledge relating to care management. In addition to meeting the assessment requirements of the course, your employer also assesses your vocational competencies on an ongoing basis.

You also undertake a module which develops your study skills and provides an introduction to learning in the University. This module helps you to prepare for the assessments within the course. Core and option modules reflect the workplace/practice setting you are in.

We help you choose the most appropriate route and options. You choose option modules in collaboration with your employer/sponsor and an appropriate academic tutor to ensure that they reflect the skills and knowledge required within your work/practice role/setting. Option modules are available in subjects such as nursing practice, long-term conditions, perioperative care, radiography, rehabilitation, mental health, learning disabilities and occupational health. Further options may be available.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

An Introduction to Anatomy and Pathophysiology

This core module gives you the opportunity to develop a basic knowledge of human anatomy and physiology as part of your foundation year. It focuses on the concept of homeostasis – how all systems work in harmony. The content is delivered using a systems approach across a range of body systems.

Learning to Learn and Foundations of Practice

Foundations of Practice is a 60 credit module. It is a work-based learning module exploring practice-related theory and work-based learning with emphasis on safe practice and patient safety.

You develop your knowledge, skills and professional conduct, values and attitudes that are relevant and important to your work-based role.

Learning to Learn is a 10 credit module. When entering higher education, you need to develop a range of skills to support your academic studies. These skills range from basic IT skills through high-level information retrieval.


Optional modules

You also select a module from the list of specialist options that relates to your working environment.

Year 2 core modules

Investigating Evidence and Contributing to Change

Orientations of Practice

This is a 60-credit competency-based practice module – it provides 50% of the programme credits at level 2. In year 2 you will build on your existing knowledge and skills to advance your practice and competencies, demonstrated through your portfolio of evidence.


Optional modules

You also select a module from the list of specialist options that relates to your working environment.

Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You attend the University one day a week for 28 weeks a year across the two-year course. You share your learning experiences with students from other care settings. The course is focused on work-based/work-related learning and you are expected to use your experiences to fulfil work-based activities and inform your academic development. There are modules which enable you to undertake learning in the workplace and develop a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your skill development.

The learning and teaching methods include lectures, seminars, group work, and IT skills laboratory. The course is supported by the use of a virtual learning environment that allows you to engage with the learning and tutors whilst in the workplace.

How you are assessed

You are assessed as part of the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care Practice. Each module is assessed individually, using a variety of methods including assignments, examinations and presentations to allow your knowledge to develop. In addition, you also complete a work-based portfolio and your competence in practice is assessed on an ongoing basis if you are following the competency route. You have access to a wide range of support including personal tutors, academic tutors and work-based mentors/supervisors who support you and guide you through the range of assessments.

In addition to meeting the assessment requirements for the foundation degree, your employer also assesses your vocational competencies on an ongoing basis. You also need to pass an overall higher apprenticeship end point assessment.
To be awarded the higher apprenticeship you are required to successfully complete all assessment elements.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You should normally be employed at least 30 hours a week working in a health and/or social care setting.

Your employer sets the general internal selection criteria but you also need to meet the entry requirements specified by the University.

A typical student would have NVQ level 3 in a relevant subject. If this is not possible there is the opportunity to offer other evidence such as appropriate learning through work. You will also have GCSE passes grade 4-9 (grade A-C) or equivalent in English language and maths.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

On successful completion of the higher apprenticeship you can seek employment as associate or assistant practitioners. There may also be opportunity for progression to an honors degree course or relevant pre-registration healthcare programmes, for example nursing, if the competency route has been completed.



Entry to 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants

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