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Earn while you learn with the RCN Healthcare Connect Programme for nursing

Published: 28/3/24

Health Education and Improvement Wales has led on the development of the RCN Healthcare Connect Programme. The programme is aimed at those who have completed a Health and Social Care level 3 or Access to Nursing qualification but need to boost their grade or gain experience before applying to study a nursing degree.

A key feature of the programme is that it enables learners to earn while they learn by working between 24 and 30 hours a week as a Health Care Support Worker, gaining valuable experience.

In addition, learners are also required to study one day per week at college to obtain their diploma, where learners will complete a reflective workbook linking their practice experience with theory. To ease the transition into higher education, learners will also attend university one day per month.

The course runs for 6 months and is sure to give learners an edge when sitting their nursing degree interview.

The programme is currently being piloted in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing Wales, Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg Gwent, University of South Wales, and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. Five of the six learners within the pilot scheme have already been accepted onto a nursing degree.

One of the learners said “This course has given me a second chance in life. It’s a dream come true to be becoming a nurse after so much rejection. The programme has demystified the notion that nursing is only for certain people. I have seen the right support, material and resources offered by the programme and all I need to do is give my 100%.”

Owain Jones, Head of Health and Social Care USW, said: “We are proud to partner on this programme and to support learners into further healthcare education and careers.

“Working in collaboration is a key part of USW’s 2030 strategy, placing engagement and partnership working at the heart of everything we do.”

Sandy Harding, Associate Director Nursing, Policy and Professional Practice, RCN Wales, said: “RCN Wales recognises the value of flexible routes into nursing and we're honoured to support this scheme. We look forward to working with Health Education Improvement Wales and further education colleges to assist learners looking for support as they progress into all fields of nursing.”

The programme is set to run again in September 2024. If you’re interested in the programme, please contact Coleg Gwent or Cardiff and Vale College to ask about the entry requirements.

If you want to learn more about becoming a nurse, head over to our Get into nursing page and check out the information and resources available.