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Work and Learning Network: Network News: December 2020

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

UALL Work and Learning Network: Network News: December 2020

Welcome to the December edition of the newsletter.

At the end of this eventful year we look back on our previous newsletters and the practice highlighted within our spotlight section. This month we celebrate the work of our Nurse Practitioners, who have provided us with our final spotlight for December 2020.

Editorial: A year of change

Please see the links to Spotlight features for 2020.

September Spotlight: The Institute for University to Business Education (U2B)

Marty Wright; U2B Academic Head and Mairi Morton; U2B Academic Development Tutor, Glasgow Caledonian University; The Institute for University to Business Education (U2B).

October Spotlight: Sue Graham, Northumbria University

Sue Graham on work-based learning policy and the apprenticeship debate.

November Spotlight: Technology at the University of the Arts London

Getting Through Covid: Jim Nottingham UAL’s Chief Information Officer

Spotlight: Cariona Flaherty and Marion Taylor, Middlesex University

Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Update

We have had an exciting time recently at Middlesex University with our Nursing Associate (NA) Apprenticeship provision. We have a number of cohorts at different stages, and some of the highlights are;

Our cohort who commenced in December 2018 are just completing their academic programme and apprenticeship, and are preparing to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council as registered NAs. This is a fantastic achievement for almost 100 students from our local employers in Trusts, primary and social care.

A photo from the launch of the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship at Middlesex University, December 2018 (Copyright – Middlesex University)

We have 3 cohorts now in year 2 of their programme, they commenced in July 2019, October 2019, and December 2019, well done to all of those, and our employer partners for their support.

We have 2 cohorts in year 1 of their programme, they commenced in March 2020 and October 2020. The March 2020 cohort commenced at the peak of covid-19, and as lockdown was emerging. The cohort converted to online learning rapidly, and have made excellent progress in their apprenticeship so far. Our October 2020 cohort were recruited using online processes, and are progressing well in their employment. All cohorts are having their tri-partite reviews regularly with their Personal Tutor, employer lead, and Manager. These are now using a virtual meeting model, via Zoom or Teams, which has had a positive approach in terms of attendance at these.

We have ensured the cohorts are having an optimal teaching and learning process. We have introduced a range of innovative resources including medicine administration skills using ‘Safe-Medicate’ (2020), Virtual Reality (VR) and screen based simulation using the Oxford Medical VR Simulation (OMS, 2020). These are popular learning features and are allowing our students to practice caring for acutely ill patients in a supported safe simulated environment, with rapid feedback from tutors and peers.

As academic leaders of this provision, we have identified the need for NA students to have specific resources to help them develop their academic practice, and have edited a book with chapters written by Middlesex University programme team members (Flaherty and Taylor, 2021) due for publication early in the New Year. A subsequent publication is now in progress, focussed on learning from practice as a NA student, due for publication early 2022.

The apprenticeship landscape remains challenging, and within nursing and nursing associate practice this has further complexity due to the range of stakeholders and requirements, and this is explored further in, Taylor and Flaherty (2020).

Within nursing and NA practice 2020 has been additionally challenges due to covid-19, and our NA apprentices have played a significant part in this working within a range of healthcare settings across North and Central London.


Flaherty, C., and Taylor, M. (2021) ‘Developing Academic skills for Nursing Associates’. Learning Matters, London: SAGE.

Taylor, M and Flaherty C (2020) Nursing associate apprenticeship – a descriptive case study narrative of impact, innovation and quality improvement. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning. DOI: 10.1108/HESWBL-05-2020-0105

Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) (2020), available at: (accessed, 8th December 2020)

SafeMedicate (2020), available at: (accessed, 8th December 2020)



The UALL Executive recently held its 2020 AGM which featured the approval of the formation of UALL as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

EURASHE apprenticeships and work-based studies – useful links for practice that address recent European research and practice.

Eurashe hosted the online event “Shaping the future of SMART Work-Based Learning”, co-organised by EURASHE, the Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges, Knowledge Innovation Centre, Celje School of Economics Higher Vocational College, VERN’ University of Applied Sciences and the Czech Association of Professional Higher Education on 26 November 2020 on Zoom.

Please find presentations from the event here.

The recording of the webinar is published on EURASHE’s YouTube channel here.

Please find all the information and results from the Apprentice Track project here.

Thoughts on reflection and work based learning - new on the website, an annotated bibliography

Contributed by Carol Costley and Pauline Armsby

Recent publications

Developing Academic Skills For Nursing Associates

Work Based Learning e-Journal International

Volume 9, Issue 2

Showcasing your work for 2021:

We would love to showcase your good practise and research so please send us what you have been doing, links to events and recent publications so we can continue to share with the network news in the New Year.

We especially invite news about practice that celebrates the re-embracing of Work-based learning worldwide (policy and well as practice) and programmes that celebrate Equality, Inclusion and Diversity (EDI) that will be feature for the network 2021.

Let us spotlight and share what you do.

There’s a lot more to come in 2021!

UALL Work and Learning Network

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