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Workforce Development - Health Care Support Workers

For NHS professionals and employers looking for more information on Health Care Support Workers.

The title Health Care Support Workers (HCSWs) covers a multitude of roles within the NHS, both clinical and non-clinical. For anyone thinking about a career in the health service, health care support work is a good way to gain a foothold.

Anyone undertaking a role as a HCSW must meet the new code of conduct guidelines as describe by Skills for Health



Clinical support staff work with nurses, midwives, doctors and allied health professionals to deliver high-quality care. Many clinical support staff are involved in looking after the general well-being and comfort of patients. Clinical support roles also offer an ideal entry route to many careers in health, such as nursing and midwifery, especially for people with commitment and enthusiasm rather than academic qualifications. (HealthCareers.nhs.uk)

A good example of a clinical support role is that of the Healthcare Assistant (HCAs). They work within hospital or community settings under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. The role can be varied depending upon the area in which the person is employed. If you would like to care for people and make a positive difference to their lives, this could be the ideal job for you. There are no set entry requirements to become a healthcare assistant but employers will ask for good literacy and numeracy and may ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and maths. They may also ask for a healthcare qualification, such as BTEC or NVQ. There are apprenticeships in healthcare that can give you the experience needed to apply for HCA posts.

Need Inspiration?

Click here for a great example of a HCA apprenticeship programme in action.

    Talent for Care

    Improving education, training and development opportunities available to those working in an NHS support role and ensuring the whole healthcare workforce is representative of the communities it serves, and that progression and opportunities are based on merit, not social background.

    • Get In - opportunities for people to start their career in a support role

    • Get On - support people to be the best they can be in the job they do

    • Go Further - provide opportunities for career progression, including into registered professions

    For all general enquiries about Talent for Care or to find contact details for the lead in your local team, please email heee.talentforcare@nhs.net.


      Apprenticeships ensure that the workforce has the practical skills and qualifications an organisation needs now and in the future.

      Key benefits that Apprenticeships bring to health sector organisations include:

      • improved productivity
      • improved competitiveness
      • committed and competent work-force

      Apprentices can be implemented in one of three ways:

      1. Existing staff already in post undergoing a National Vocational Qualification who may require or like to progress on to an Apprenticeship.
      2.  New recruits to a job role within the NHS who work towards the Apprenticeship Framework.
      3.  A Foundation degree (Fd) for Assistant Practitioners, both Higher Education Institutions that deliver Fds in Wessex have been mapped against the Higher Apprenticeship framework that has been developed with other HEE Local Teams and Skills for Health.

      If you are looking to take your first steps into health care have you considered work experience.

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      Looking for a route into health care but don’t have the qualifications then consider an apprenticeship.

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      Become a Health Ambassador

      If you are willing to inspire and encourage young people in primary and secondary schools to think about a career and educational opportunities in healthcare then become a Health Ambassador.

      Read more