HSH Nursing Apprentices

Meet Our Apprentices!

We all know that there is a national shortage of Nurses. This isn’t a new issue, but it has really come under the spotlight as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Nurse workforce has finally received the acknowledgement and appreciation that it has long deserved, but more needs to be done. We need more Nurses.

University isn’t for everyone, and we have seen all too often that many people have been put off of pursuing a career in nursing because they don’t feel capable of going to university, or because university doesn’t fit alongside other commitments and responsibilities they have in their lives. But many of these people do have what it takes to become excellent Nurses… And that’s where apprenticeships come in!

Being able to stay in paid employment whilst completing a degree offers people a whole new way of reaching their goals of becoming Registered Nurses. It removes the initial ‘fear’ of academic study, it addresses financial concerns, and it provides greater support throughout the learning process.

We are immensely proud that our organisation has been able to support FOUR existing employees to start the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA) this year, with a further TWO existing employees have started the RNDA top-up course; a two year version of the programme that will take them from Nursing Associates to Registered Nurses. The decision to support this was easy; these apprenticeships allow us to:

  • Invest in and develop our employees
  • Continue to build on our skilled workforce
  • Play our part in building the future workforce for our country’s health service

We would like to introduce two of our RNDA apprentices, Nicole and Cim:



Nicole jumped at the opportunity to take on the RNDA when HSH secured the funding needed to support her. Through our partnership with the BNSSG Learning Academy and with support from Health Education England, we were able to get Nicole on her way to becoming a Registered Nurse. Here’s what Nicole had to say just as she started her course:

I am Nicoleta, but everyone calls me Nicole. I came to this country alone in 2007, started with various jobs and worked my way up to where I am today with the help and support of my good friends that I call them ‘chosen family’! I am an avid animal lover; I’ve been around animals my entire life. I am the proud owner of 3 pets, a Bengal cat called Tiger, an Axolotl called Pinkie (is a pink paedomorphic salamander related to the tiger salamander) and a Royal Python called Junior.

I have worked as a Healthcare Assistant at [the prison] for 6 years now and this year I was given the opportunity to progress further by enrolling in an innovative way of becoming a Registered Nurse which is a 4 years Nursing Degree Apprenticeship. This apprenticeship means a lot to me because I get to keep my job, my pay has not changed, and I am able to study toward becoming a Registered Nurse with minimal impact on my life. As long as there is dedication, discipline and patience, I think this course is perfect for anyone who wants to progress in their career!



Cim has been working as a Healthcare Assistant at one of our prison sites for a number of years. In October 2021, Cim started her fully funded RNDA, and is now working towards becoming a fully fledged Registered Nurse. Here’s what Cim had to say just a few weeks after starting her course:

I have been doing my online apprenticeship with BPP university, supported by Hanham Secure Health. It is online based, which was hard to begin with, but I have certainly adapted to it now. [I’m] enjoying my course [and have] certainly expanded my knowledge base, being able to put it into practice when I am at work!

I am lucky to have a good support group from colleagues as well as friends I have met who are also doing the same course within the organisation, [who] work in different prisons. Working from home doing the online apprenticeship is reducing polluting the air (cleaner environment) and having less stress on finding car park spaces. So, for me it’s ideal and I enjoy working from home

Cim working on her apprenticeship from home



John was our first employee without any previous clinical experience to enrol onto the RNDA. Having more than shown his abilities within an administrative function, we are delighted to now be supporting John to explore this new venture. Here’s what John told us after starting the course:

“”I’ve been with Hanham since 2016 and started working in HMP Bristol in 2017 before moving to HMP Leyhill in 2020. I’ve worked in admin throughout my time with Hanham, but I’ve loved working alongside my healthcare colleagues, they are the ones who made me want to take this opportunity. Being able to get a nursing degree, whilst being paid, whilst getting experience by working as a HCA is amazing – I’d never have been able to do it otherwise!

Study so far has been so much better than I thought. The lecturers interact well with us and our cohort of 98 students get to message throughout the classes (about the lecture of course) so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by not being in a classroom. What I’m really excited about though are the placements which will be happening next year”

Here’s John, reading up on the NMC, whilst enjoying a cuppa!


Read more about our apprenticeship work here