NMC approves first College to deliver direct-entry nursing associate training

The newly-approved programme provides a direct and self-funded route to becoming a Registered Nursing Associate.

Ian Snug
1 April 2021
South Devon College

Nursing associate training programmes have typically been delivered by universities.

South Devon College has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as the first further education (FE) institution to deliver an accredited nursing associate programme.


Up to this point, nursing associate training programmes have been delivered by universities.

The nursing associate role was formalised in 2019 to help to bridge the gap between health care assistants and registered nurses in England.

The two-year course based at the University Centre South Devon (UCSD), part of South Devon College, provides a direct route to becoming a Registered Nursing Associate.

Students on the Nursing Associate programme will split their time between academic study and clinical placements.


After two years, students are also able to take the new Nursing Apprenticeship route or top-up their studies at university to become a Registered Nurse.

Dr Alexander Rhys, Assistant Director of Professional Practice at the NMC, said: “This is a fantastic step for both South Devon College and the NMC in helping aspiring professionals achieve the nursing associate qualification in the most safe and effective way possible.

“I hope they will be the first of many colleges seeking direct approval to run a nursing associate programme.

“We look forward to working with the College and to welcome their future cohorts of students to register with us.”


Claire Langman, Head of Health Professions and Nursing at South Devon College, added;¬†“I hope that South Devon College’s success in accomplishing its Approved Education Institution status with the NMC will inspire other further education colleges to pursue approval in their own right.”

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