Kneesworth House Hospital in Royston is celebrating 10 staff members completing their apprenticeships to become fully-fledged mental health nurses.

Priory, the mental healthcare provider which runs the hospital, is now urging anyone considering a nursing or occupational therapist career to take part in its 'earn while you learn' degree apprenticeship programme - especially if they are local to Kneesworth.

Apprentices are all existing staff members who have been at Priory for at least a year, and eligible to meet the degree entry requirements. 

Entry requirements are maths and English at level 2 (equivalent to a GCSE grade C) and a full level 3 qualification achieved in further education.

Therefore anyone joining Kneesworth as a healthcare assistant or occupational therapy assistant who passes their probation and completes one year's service may be eligible to apply.


Colin Quick, chief quality officer and chief nurse, said: "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."

Neil Buchan is a staff nurse at Kneesworth House Hospital, and has completed an impressive two apprenticeships.

He 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."

There is currently a nationwide shortage of nurses in the mental healthcare sector.

Anyone interested in doing an apprenticeship with Priory can get in touch by emailing or visit