Dorset’s health and care system is highlighting the success of its Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA) during National Apprenticeship Week 2024 and encouraging people to find out more as a pathway into nursing.

The course combines study through Bournemouth University alongside working as an apprentice across healthcare settings in Dorset, offering applicants the opportunity to study for a qualification that will enable them to become a registered nurse whilst being paid.

Since it was launched in 2018, over three hundred people have enrolled in the RNDA course with the first applicants starting work in March 2023.

Sian is currently studying whilst working at Dorset County Hospital.

She said “I did not know what I wanted to do when I left school. I am a practical learner so knew an apprenticeship would be a good fit for me but did not know which one.

“The practical side of the training is the best part for me, even when not on placement with the university, I am still getting hands on experience on my ‘home base’ which is the ward I work on when not at lectures or on placement.

“Not having a long break between clinical work is really beneficial as an RNDA over a full-time student, as it does not take long to get out of practice of clinical shift work. Having a ‘home base’ also means having another level of support to turn to.”

Sarah Tilbury is Head of Education and Workforce Development with NHS Dorset, she said “Along with other apprenticeships in Dorset’s health and care system, the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship can be an attractive option into nursing for people who currently work in health and care or for those who are wanting a different route into a career where they can truly make a difference and earn whilst they study.

“The NHS will continue the need to increase the clinical workforce and making best options such as apprenticeships will continue to be vital in the coming years both to support our workforce supply and for development of our future nurses and other clinical staff.

“We are delighted with the response we have had over the last few years, welcoming many new faces to the local NHS family.”

National Apprenticeship Week takes place 5 – 11 February 2024.

For more information on the local Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA) please visit

Apprenticeships are common across NHS partners allowing people to get paid whilst they study a range of courses up to Masters level.