Priory's Kneesworth House celebrated new nurses

Date: 8th February 2023

You’re hired! Kneesworth House Hospital celebrates its tenth registered nurse via Priory’s apprenticeship scheme

Priory’s Kneesworth House Hospital is celebrating a new milestone after 10 staff members completed their apprenticeships to join the ranks of the UK’s much-needed mental health nursing profession.

Priory, the UK’s largest independent mental healthcare provider is now urging anyone considering a nursing or occupational therapist career, especially if they are local to Kneesworth, to consider its ‘earn while you learn’ Nurse and Occupational Therapist Degree Apprenticeship programmes.

Its apprentices are all existing staff members who have been at Priory for at least a year and eligible to meet the degree entry requirements (Maths and English at Level 2 (equivalent to a GCSE Grade C)), and a full Level 3 qualification achieved in further education). So anyone joining Kneesworth as a healthcare assistant or Occupational Therapy Assistant who passes their probation and completes one year’s service at the hospital may be eligible to apply, and make progress in their career with highly-respected and much sought-after qualifications.

Colin Quick, Chief Quality Officer and Chief Nurse, says: “We are now entering our fifth year of sponsoring colleagues to progress their careers through the Nurse Degree Apprenticeship programme. So far we have supported over 200 people in the UK onto the course and in the last six months we have been so proud to see the first of those intakes start to qualify and move into the next stage of their careers with us.

“As part of our ongoing commitment, we work in conjunction with our partners at the University of Bolton to create our very own nursing course and to date we have had two groups start their training, with a third planned for 2023.

“I am so proud of the work that we have been able to do as an organisation to support so many people to achieve the ambition of being a registered nurse, I’m always going to be rather biased but I do firmly believe it to be the most rewarding and fulfilling job that anyone can do.”

In 2021, 32 healthcare assistants from across the UK began their apprenticeships to become registered mental health nurses. They started a BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health) Degree Apprenticeship programme while studying at satellite campuses based at Priory’s Burgess Hill hospital and Kneesworth House hospital. Kneesworth is rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission for the care it delivers and is proud of colleagues who have now qualified in the profession. Other sites celebrating successful apprenticeships include: 16 at Cheadle, 9 at Middleton St George hospital, 9 at Woodbourne and 7 at Kemple View.

The University of Bolton has excellent partnerships with providers like Priory in its highly successful School of Nursing and Midwifery.

One of those who successfully completed their Nurse apprenticeships is Neil Buchan of Kneesworth House Hospital, who completed an impressive two apprenticeships.

Neil, a staff nurse, said: “I have always wanted to be a Registered Nurse on joining Kneesworth House Hospital so when the opportunity arose I jumped at the chance.

“I completed the Assistant Practitioner foundation degree apprenticeship which took 22 months, followed by the top-up apprenticeship to registered mental health nursing, which was another  20 months. This may sound like a long time but you just need to find the right balance between work and study, if you are determined enough than you will find a way which works for you.

“I have dyslexia and reading can be a problem for me as I struggle to process the information. That’s why I made sure not to leave things until last minute, be well organised and tried to complete work in good time.

“The apprenticeships gave me the opportunity to work with various teams and sites with people who has different levels of knowledge. By gaining this experience, I can take this into my own place of work and use this to support the patients under my care.

“To anyone considering an apprenticeship with Priory, I say absolutely go for it, but don’t take things for granted, be organised and most of all enjoy the experience.”

Anyone interested in joining Priory and pursuing an apprenticeship should contact [email protected] or visit the Priory jobs website.

There is currently a nationwide shortage of nurses in the mental healthcare sector. The apprenticeship scheme is just one of the many steps Priory is taking to tackle this.



Contact: [email protected]


About Priory and MEDIAN

Priory is the UK’s leading independent provider of mental health services. We treat more than 70 conditions, including depression, anxiety, addictions and eating disorders, as well as children’s mental health, across our nationwide network of sites. We also support autistic adults and adults with a learning disability, Prader-Willi Syndrome and brain injuries, as well as older people, within our specialist residential care and supported living facilities – helping as many people as possible to live their lives.

Priory is part of the MEDIAN Group, one of Europe’s leading providers of high quality mental health and rehabilitation services. The MEDIAN Group comprises 290 facilities with 5,000 beds caring for 28,000 people in the UK, 120 facilities with 20,000 beds caring for around 250,000 patients in Germany, and 15 facilities with 2,000 beds caring for 13,000 people in Spain, with more than 29,000 employees overall.

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