School of Health and Social Care

Making your apprenticeship application successful

Two students watching a member of staff talk through the human anatomy using a model showing the internal organs

Degree Apprenticeships

To apply for our Degree Apprenticeship in Nursing, you need to already be employed in an NHS Trust, and have the support of your employer to apply.

You will need to apply to us online using our Apprenticeship application form. Please contact for more information.

Apprenticeship positions are highly sought after here at Essex. To give yourself the best chance of gaining a place, we recommend you look carefully at our guidance below

Making your application

Places on our courses here at Essex are in high demand. To give yourself the best chance of securing your place here, we recommend you consider the following:

How much do I know about the course?

It's important to us that you know what you're signing up for. We'd expect that you've read our course pages carefully, and have done plenty of research about both life at Essex and the careers associated with our courses.

Working in health and social care can be highly rewarding, but like any sector, it also comes with its challenges. It's important that you have an awareness of these challenges, and are up to speed with current issues. We'd recommend you keep up with health and social care news, and subject appropriate journals and magazines , e.g Nursing Times, Nursing Standard, etc.

How can I demonstrate that I have what it takes?

Our Healthcare apprenticeships are underpinned by the NHS Constitution, as well as our own Essex values. The NHS Constitution is an important document which establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England.

This document very clearly explains that the patient is at the heart of everything the NHS does. We take this commitment seriously, and so are looking for people who have the potential to be future healthcare superstars.

In your application, you will need to briefly explain how you currently demonstrate the NHS 6Cs. You don't need to write at length about each, but we do need to see that you have these values:

  • Care
  • Compassion
  • Competence
  • Communication
  • Courage
  • Commitment

Our apprenticeships are a blend of both theory and practice, so we also need to hear from you about both your academic and practical skills. Think carefully about how your experiences have prepared you for some of the challenges of the course, and how they can make you stand out from the crowd.

For example, if you've worked in retail, you're likely to have developed your communication skills, so you may be able to talk about this. If you're currently working in healthcare, you should use examples from your day-to-day work, as well as any other opportunities where you have developed your knowledge and skills (e.g volunteering as a Scout leader, etc).

Does my course requires an interview? What can I do to prepare?

Our entry requirements for our Degree Apprenticeships in Nursing require you to have interview as part of the selection process. 

For many people, the idea of being interviewed is quite daunting. There's no need to panic. We're on your side.

We aim to use the interview process to get to know you and to find out your plans for the future. Our interview panels are made up of current staff and local placement partners. Many of the panel will have been through a similar process at some point in their career, so they'll appreciate you'll probably be feeling nervous. Try to relax (as best as you can) and think of it more as a discussion with colleagues about why you'd like to join us.

For Nursing, our interview questions are structured around the four themes of the NMC code:

  • prioritise people
  • practice effectively
  • preserve safety
  • promote professionalism and trust.

As part of our selection process, the NMC requires you to undertake English and Maths tests so you can demonstrate that you have a basic level of literacy and numeracy. If you have a documented educational need, then you may be entitled to specific access arrangements for the literacy and numeracy tests. If you think that this applies to you, please contact us as soon as possible.

What do I need to bring to my interview?

At your interview we will need to see documentation such as your ID documents, and your existing qualifications. Please check the information sent to you carefully to make sure you are prepared. You will need to bring original documents - photocopies will not be accepted.

What do I need to wear to my interview?

Here at Essex, we will treat you as a professional from day one. We suggest that for your interview you wear smart casual clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

How can I prepare for the English and Maths tests? What do I need to revise?


The literacy test will assess your reading and writing skills.  A variety of questions will cover the following areas:
  • Spelling
  • Grammar and syntax
  • Presenting information in a logical sequence
  • Vocabulary
  • Punctuation
  • Common prefixes
  • Free writing
  • Proofreading
  • Comprehension
  • Fact or opinion?



The numeracy test will assess your ability to apply number, to use measurements and to handle data.  Calculators can be used.  You will be given a total of 45 minutes in which to complete both tests.  Question topics will include:

  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages -  calculations, conversions and equivalencies



  • Time, weight, distance, volume, money and conversion of units


 Handling data
  • Extracting information from tables, diagrams, charts or graphs.


Feeling anxious about your numeracy or literacy skills?  Don't worry, once you are here, we have lots of support in place.

Does the university have practice tests I can do?

To help you prepare for our literacy and numeracy tests,  we have a selection of resources for you to use:

University of Essex practice papers:

Please note the pass mark is only for this paper.


Literacy and numeracy practice tests:






Mobile apps

There are a number of apps that can help you to develop your literacy and numeracy skills. The following are all free to use. In-app purchases are possible, but are neither required nor endorsed by the University of Essex, and the University cannot answer any queries relating to their use.

  • Elevate
  • Learndirect