Nursing Apprenticeship: how to apply

Find out if you qualify for our Nursing Apprentice programme where you will gain a Nursing Degree while working at one of our 35 England based Spire hospitals. 

Applications for the 2021 Spire Healthcare and Sunderland University Nurse Apprentice programme are now closed, but you can still register your interest in future nurse apprentice programmes, along with Healthcare Assistant and other non-clinical positions, within our 39 private hospitals across the UK.

Applications for the 2021 Spire Healthcare and Sunderland University Nurse Apprentice programme are now closed, but you can still register your interest in future nurse apprentice programmes, along with Healthcare Assistant and other non-clinical positions, within our 39 private hospitals across the UK.

What are the entry requirements?

As a minimum, you will need to be aged 18 or over, hold Maths and English GCSEs (A to C/9 to 4) or equivalent eg functional skills. Additionally, you will need one of the following:

For the four year pathway:

  • Level 3 in Healthcare

For the five year pathway:

  • 112 UCAS points* or
  • Level 3 or above in any subject area or
  • Access to higher education or
  • BTEC Diploma

*If you are unsure how many UCAS points you have, please check using the UCAS tariff calculator.

Accrediting Prior Learning (APL)

Joining a Nursing Apprenticeship programme with completed healthcare learning qualifications might reduce the length of your degree programme and is called accrediting prior learning (APL).

A qualified Nurse Associate for example will complete a Nurse Degree Apprenticeship in two, rather than four years. If you have gained another type of healthcare qualification at foundation/degree level, you might also qualify for a potential reduction in course length. However, due to the number of differing curriculums taught in universities, we can only advise on potential reductions in length at the application stage. If you are offered a place on the Nurse Apprenticeship programme, you will undertake a number of detailed skills scans to match your existing learning to the Nursing curriculum as part of the entry process. Only at this point can the length of the degree programme be confirmed and sadly not before.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s guidelines state we can only accredit prior learning if qualifications match/align to the Nursing curriculum. Sadly, we cannot reduce the length of your programme unless you hold a healthcare related qualification.

If you think anything you have read so far interests you, we want to hear from you and we are looking for applicants who:

  • Have always longed to train as a Nurse but for whatever reason chose another career pathway and the time feels right to change now, or
  • You offer experience and possess a level 3 qualification in Healthcare, or you are leaving education and have been inspired by this opportunity to study for a degree while earning

Whatever your background, we encourage you to apply as long as you meet the minimum criteria.  

If you are the parent/carer of a school leaver and want to know more about Apprenticeships before your school leaver applies please view our parents/carers guide.

Who will pay my course fees?

The course fees for this degree apprenticeship programme are £27,000 and are fully met by Spire Healthcare; we will take care of this for you.

What happens at the end of my training?

This role provides you with a permanent position within Spire Healthcare from the day you join the programme; 26 July 2021.

We want you to stay with us once you graduate and enjoy a long and fulfilling career here at Spire. In your first year of Nursing we work to build your clinical confidence through our preceptorship programme which will help you make the transition from Nurse Apprentice and develop your practice further. On graduation you will be allocated a qualified and experienced practitioner to guide and support you in the first year post qualification while you find your feet.

Beyond the preceptorship we will give you the opportunity to grow and develop your career with us. Your career progression is facilitated by us, but led by you. As you develop your skills you can progress into other areas of Nursing such as a leadership role or, if you prefer, you can develop your specialisms further. Here are just a few progression routes you could consider:

  • Team Leader
  • Ward Manager
  • Outpatient Manager
  • Clinical Educator
  • Non-Medical Prescriber
  • Theatre Nurse
  • Clinical Governance Lead
  • National roles in other specialist areas

Where will I be located?

We are offering a number of roles at each of our England based hospitals. Enter a postcode or town, to find the nearest Spire hospital.

Below is a full list of our England based Spire hospitals, where you can take part in our Nursing Apprenticeship programme:

  • Spire Alexandra Hospital - Kent, ME5 9PG
  • Spire Bristol Hospital - BS6 6UT
  • Spire Bushey Hospital - WD23 1RD
  • Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital - CB24 9EL
  • Spire Cheshire Hospital - WA4 4LU
  • Spire Clare Park Hospital - GU10 5XX
  • Spire Dunedin Hospital - Reading, RG1 6NS
  • Spire Elland Hospital - HX5 9EB
  • Spire Fylde Coast Hospital - FY3 8BP
  • Spire Gatwick Park Hospital - RH6 0BB
  • Spire Harpenden Hospital - AL5 4BP
  • Spire Hartswood Hospital - CM13 3LE
  • Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital - HU10 7AZ
  • Spire Leeds Hospital - LS8 1NT
  • Spire Leicester Hospital - LE2 2FF
  • Spire Little Aston Hospital - B74 3UP
  • Spire Liverpool Hospital - L18 1HQ
  • Spire London East Hospital - IG4 5PZ
  • Spire Manchester Hospital - M20 2AF
  • Spire Methley Park Hospital - LS26 9HG
  • Spire Murrayfield Hospital, Wirral - CH61 1AU
  • Spire Norwich Hospital - NR4 7TD
  • Spire Nottingham Hospital - NG12 4GA
  • Spire Parkway Hospital - Solihull, B91 2PP
  • Spire Portsmouth Hospital - PO9 5NP
  • Spire Regency Hospital - SK11 8DW
  • Spire South Bank Hospital - Worcester, WR5 3YB
  • Spire Southampton Hospital - SO16 6UY
  • Spire St Anthony's Hospital - Surrey, SM3 9DW
  • Spire Sussex - TN37 7RE
  • Spire Thames Valley Hospital - Slough, SL3 6NH
  • Spire Tunbridge Wells Hospital - TN3 0RD
  • Spire Washington Hospital - NE38 9JZ
  • Spire Wellesley Hospital - Southend-on-Sea, SS2 4XH
  • The Montefiore Hospital - Hove, BN3 1RD

How do I apply?

When considering if Nursing is right for you, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do I want to be an Adult Nurse?
  2. Do I know what Adult Nurses do and where they can work?
  3. Am I prepared to study for up to 5 years?
  4. Am I prepared to study at degree level?
  5. Am I prepared to learn and earn at the same time?

Applications for the 2021 course are now closed, but you can still register your interest in future nurse apprentice programmes: Register today

What is the application process?

We've designed an application process to support you in showing us your potential. At every stage of the process, you will be assessed against the key skills you need to be a Nurse:

We will use Spire's values to assess you against the initial phase of your application which are:

Driving clinical excellence

  • We stretch ourselves to achieve fantastic results
  • Be bold and challenge the status quo
  • Go the extra mile
  • Listen and learn from feedback
  • Invest to succeed
  • Be hungry to innovate and improve

Doing the right thing

  • We make sound and considered judgements
  • Balance competing interests and priorities
  • Trust our instincts
  • Tackle difficult situations

Caring is our passion

  • We put patients at the heart of everything we do
  • See everything through the eyes of our patients
  • Take time to understand our patients’ needs and concerns
  • Respect patients as individuals

Keeping it simple

  • We make complex things easier
  • Use plain language
  • Strive to minimise bureaucracy
  • Challenge things that are overcomplicated
  • Communicate effectively and clearly      

Delivering on our promises

  • People can trust us to do what we say we’ll do
  • Be clear about our promises
  • Take individual and collective responsibility for our actions
  • Communicate difficult messages with clarity, honesty and respect

Succeeding and celebrating together

  • We work together, learn from each other and celebrate success
  • Share and reward best practice
  • Encourage individual achievement
  • Listen and say, “thank you”

In the final stage of the application process we will look to assess you against the 6 C’s of Nursing. For more information on the 6C’s see the section on 'Assessment centre'.

Our whole application process is now virtual, we want you to be fully prepared to successfully complete all the stages of the application. As you move through each stage of the application process, our Recruitment Team will be in touch to explain the next steps. If you need any additional support during the process including extra time, please let us know.

  • This is your chance to tell us about you, your background and any work experience you may have undertaken. This should take no more than 30 minutes to complete and you won't need to upload a CV
  • Have your qualification certificates to hand, we will need to check you have your Maths and English qualifications at this stage. If you have lost your certificates you can apply to your exam board for a copy. If this is the case please let us know. Similarly if you haven’t got your results yet, you need to tell us when they are likely to be confirmed. This will need to be before the start date of the 26 July. Please visit GOV.UK for advice on how to obtain a lost certificate
  • Don’t worry if you haven’t had any work experience – we welcome applications from people who have had Healthcare or other work experience but we also welcome applications from school leavers who have a passion for Healthcare and simply want to train to be a Nurse
  • Ensure you give as much detail as possible and fill in all sections. If you miss out any sections this will create a delay in us processing your application as we will have to contact you to ask for the missing information
  • If any of your education was completed outside of the UK there is no need to try and convert this to the UK equivalent as we will check this when processing your application. You may want to check that your grades are equivalent to our minimum criteria before you apply, but on the application form please write the qualifications and grades you achieved
  • Please ensure the information you give is accurate and truthful as this will be checked as part of your on boarding process. Should information be found to be inaccurate, it could result in the withdrawal of your offer
  • You will be asked to provide written responses to three competency based questions. These questions will assess you specifically against your drive and motivation for the programme, career aspirations and your critical thinking skills which are a key part of your success on the programme. We advise that you spend some time planning your answers to these questions before uploading them onto your application form.
  • Once you have submitted your application form it will be processed by a member of the recruitment team. If your application is successful you will be invited to complete a digital submission in a video format. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate both your communication skills and your motivation towards a career at Spire. We will ask you to answer four questions in this one way interview format. You will be assessed specifically against the Spire values of: Caring is our passion, keeping it simple and delivering on our promises
  • If you are invited to this stage of the application process the online system will take you through how to record your answers step by step. The recruitment team are always on hand to help you with any queries you may have regarding your application

Our competency based interview approach has been designed to find out more about you. Our friendly interviewers will ask you a number of questions focusing on our Spire values. We want you to give examples of how you have behaved in given situations as we know how you have tackled things in the past will demonstrate how you might approach thing in the future. Our questions could include asking about how you helped someone who needs support or how you have you have worked as part of a team to complete a task.

As the course will require you to write assignments and meet deadlines we want to assess your written ability at this stage of the process. The written assessment will comprise of a short task designed to see how you might structure a written piece and how you use research/critical thinking skills in a written task. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to be fully competent in writing at this stage of your career but we need to know how you might go about completing a task of this nature and what development needs you may have.

  • Once successful at the written assessment and interview stage, you will be invited to one of our virtual assessment centres. During the process you will be assessed against all the 6Cs of Healthcare which we have detailed to help you prepare
  • The assessment centre will include a case study based interview and an opportunity to meet our friendly team including some real patients who have received care from qualified Nurses. You will also be given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have
  • To prepare for the assessment centre we recommend that you thoroughly research Spire Healthcare and the Apprenticeship programme you have applied for. You should prepare examples of how you think you can demonstrate the 6Cs. While we know you may never have worked in Healthcare, we know that you will have had experience of dealing with people. You could use examples from previous work experience gained from any industry or if you haven’t worked before you can use examples from school or college.

Here we outline briefly the 6Cs, but you might want to do your own research – there’s lots of information available online. Find out more information on the 6Cs.


This means putting high quality care at the centre of all work and practices. It means consistently delivering care that is focused on the individual and promotes their health and wellbeing. Additionally, it means delivering care that is right for each individual, at the right time, at every stage of their life.

For example, providing care to a person and listening to their wishes, being considerate to their beliefs, treating them with dignity, and working in accordance with best interests.


Compassion means delivering care with empathy, respect, and dignity, recognising people’s emotions, and forming relationships with patients based on empathy. It can also be thought of as ‘intelligent kindness’ – recognising emotions and responding with kindness – and is an important part of how people perceive their care.


Competence means that all those in caring roles must have the ability to understand the health and social needs of each individual. It also means having the expertise, clinical knowledge, and technical knowledge to deliver care treatments that are effective and based on research and evidence.


Communication is an essential part of any caring relationship and effective team. Compassion in Practice establishes the quote ‘no decision about me without me’, and communicating well is an important way of ensuring that this is always the case.


Courage means doing the right thing, speaking up when there are concerns and having the strength and vision to innovate and work in new, different ways. Courage is important to ensure that everyone gets the quality of care that they deserve. It means putting the patient first and being brave enough to call out when something is wrong.


The final one of the 6Cs refers to having a commitment to patients and the community and putting this at the centre of work. Your patients and their care should be your priority. Being highly committed to them helps to improve their quality of care and experience as well as that of other patients. Commitment also means being committed to the job role.