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Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship

The Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship, which is being launched by NHS England offers NHS organisations the opportunity to grow their future medical workforce and recruit from a wider pool of people in their local community.  The apprenticeship also provides individuals with a new route to train as a doctor, particularly those who, for a multitude of reasons, may be unable to attend university full-time.

In order to put this apprenticeship in place employers and medical schools were supported by Health Education England (now part of NHS England) to develop the apprenticeship and agree upon its standard.  

In July 2022 the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) and the Department of Education signed off the medical doctor degree apprenticeship standard, which set out what those organisations that choose to employ medical doctor degree apprentices will have to achieve in order for their apprentices to qualify as medical doctors.  

It was confirmed in January 2023 that funding would be made available for the first 200 medical doctor degree apprentices, who are expected to undertake their learning at one of a few selected universities from September 2024. The newly published NHS Long Term Workforce Plan has set out an ambition to have 2,000 people per year training to become a medical doctor via an apprenticeship route by 2031/32. 

Medical Doctor Degree Apprentices will do the same training at the same high standard as those taking traditional educational routes, with any medical school offering the Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship being approved by the General Medical Council. 

The Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship is available to anyone with the required entry qualifications, including those currently working in other healthcare roles, which will be set by medical schools and employers.  Apprentices are employed and paid a salary by the organisation they work for, enabling them to earn as they learn. Apprenticeships are jobs which are advertised by local employers on the basis of local workforce need.  After completing a medical degree, all doctors, whether they took the traditional route or the new apprenticeship route, must then take up a Postgraduate Doctor in Training role for which they are paid whilst undertaking postgraduate medical training.   

The healthcare provider organisation employing the apprentice will meet some of the cost of the apprentice’s tuition through the apprentice levy funds.

This approach will help to create a workforce which includes people from currently underrepresented groups, helping them to create a more diverse workforce which mirrors more closely the population they serve, and fill posts in currently under doctored areas. 


If you have a specific question about the Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship, please direct your query to UndergraduateEducation@hee.nhs.uk.

To find out more read our Medical Doctor Degree Apprentice Frequently Asked Questions.

The Medical Doctor Apprentice standard is available here: Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship Standard 

Further information along with a toolkit to assist NHS organisations in the implementing the Medical Doctor Apprentice is available here: Further information and toolkit

To read a new blog from Professor Liz Hughes, Medical Director for undergraduate education at HEE all about the new Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship, visit: Blog