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Career Progression

A career in the NHS means you can expect an annual personal development review and a plan to support your career progression. This gives you the opportunity to identify any training and development needs with your manager. It’s a commitment to support people to grow and develop professionally, to reach their full potential.

Examples of career progression for HCSWs can include:

  • Progression into registered roles, for example, in nursing, allied health professions, healthcare science and medicine. Routes into these roles can include higher education, degree apprenticeships programmes and the Nursing Associate pathway.
  • Progression pathways into senior support roles such as Senior HCAs and the Trainee Nursing Associate role or other support roles in other areas of the NHS, for example, radiography assistants, theatre support workers, practice educators, research and digital health.
  • Pathways into non-clinical roles such as, policy development, health service improvement and administration of services.

Resources to support career progression

Identifying transferable skills (Health Careers)

This webpage on the Health Careers website will help you to identify your transferable skills and you can also find out how you can top up your qualifications or work experience. A wide range of skills and experience are valuable to healthcare and organisations like the NHS.

How to complete an NHS application form (Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)

This elearning course has been developed to support people applying for NHS roles. It explains the different sections of the application process and what is needed in each

Career Planning (Health Careers)     

This tool can help you plan your career journey and next steps as a HCSW.

Career Paths for Nursing Support Workers (Royal College of Nursing)           

This RCN resource includes information on the different career pathways available to HCSWs looking to progress their career.

Review and Career Conversations (NHS Leadership Academy)     

The NHS Leadership Academy has produced information, including a downloadable template, to support HCSWs to have career conversations with their line manager.          

Code of Conduct        

A Code of Conduct is in place for HCSWs and adult social care workers in England. It sets out the minimum requirements of how HCSWs and adult social care workers should behave at work and is in place to help them to provide safe, effective and compassionate care and support.       

How to climb the NHS career ladder from HCSW to registered nurse (Search)

This blog includes information on the different options for HCSWs to pursue within their career.

First Steps (Royal College of Nursing)

This resource will support you either individually – or as part of your workplace induction programme – to learn in your own time, and get you started in your healthcare career. First Steps maps to a range of National Occupational Standards that will support you and expand on your portfolio of learning.       

Resources and Services for England (Social Care Institute for Excellence)

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has pulled together a repository of information relevant to social care including on the Mental Capacity Act, Eligibility for the Care Act and Independent Mental Health Advocacy.

Health Apprenticeship Standards Online (Skills for health)

The Health Apprenticeship Standards Online (HASO) website offers robust information, resources and support on undertaking health and care apprenticeships in England.

You may need to improve your functional skills to become a registrant. You can find more information on how to do this in the Skills for life section of this roadmap