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Nursing students to continue on-the-job training at Andrew’s Healthcare

Nursing students will continue to receive on-the-job training as part of their career development as St Andrew’s Healthcare and the University of Northampton (UON) have renewed their partnership agreement.

The two organisations have been officially partnered since 2010, and have worked collaboratively on a variety of education programmes. This includes St Andrew’s Healthcare’s exciting ASPIRE programme which supports Healthcare Assistants from the Charity to complete a Mental Health or Learning Disability Nursing Degree at the University of Northampton in just two years, while receiving financial and pastoral support.


Phil Labrum joined St Andrew’s Healthcare as a Healthcare Assistant in 2006, but after identifying that he wanted to become a fully qualified mental health nurse, he started his education journey with the UON.

Now, a fully qualified nurse and Acting Nurse Manager, Phil said:

“It was great to be able to train and gain my qualifications while doing the job. Developing my career this way allowed me to keep up with my studies, while also continuing to earn. This was important to me, because being a mature student and having commitments, meant there was no way I could have taken any other route to university, let alone have the confidence to do it.”


The partnership was renewed after a presentation from St Andrew’s to a University panel, which included members of UON’s Academic Partnerships Office, programme and subject teams.


Ged Rogers, Clinical Education Manager at St Andrew’s Healthcare, said:

“We are really proud of the long-standing relationship between St Andrew’s and the University of Northampton. Our two organisations share the same purpose and values, and we are both committed to providing education and career opportunities for all.

“Education can transform lives, and I am particularly proud of our combined efforts to provide education routes for staff who had a negative learning experience at school, and those who achieved no qualifications at all. I am looking forward to seeing the next generation of learners develop their skills.

“Our level 4 Certificate in Mental Health Studies is a key part of this partnership; enabling adult learners to be introduced to Higher Education and providing a pathway to learners into full time BSc nursing programmes that may have otherwise been impossible. Two thirds of our wonderful Aspire nurses have utilised this educational route to help them achieve their dreams of becoming registered nurses.”


Since the two organisations officially started working together in 2010, they have seen:

  • 280 St Andrew’s staff members achieve a certificate in Higher Education
  • 24 St Andrew’s staff members achieve a foundation degree, and 148 achieve a BSc top-up degree
  • 108 Healthcare Assistants qualify as Mental Health or Learning Disability Nurses via the ASPIRE programme (as of May 2022)
  • 207 staff members complete education modules at the University.

In addition, University students regularly undertake placements at St Andrew’s to gain real-life experience of working in an inpatient, psychiatric setting. Since May 2015, 1,079 placements have taken place, featuring 697 students across 12 different undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including health professions, nursing, and social care.


Donna Bray, Subject Leader for Nursing at the University of Northampton, said:

“After the challenges we surmounted during the previous two years, it’s wonderful that our highly successful, multi-layered partnership with St Andrew’s celebrates its dozenth year.

“Our close working ties take in clinical placements for undergraduate nursing students, the award-winning ASPIRE programme and apprenticeship routes into mental health for St Andrew’s staff and more, ensuring that generations of mental health professionals go on to support members of our community, and those further afield. It’s welcome news that the partnership will go on to celebrate future birthdays.”

To find out more about the courses on offer at the University of Northampton, visit: www.northampton.ac.uk.