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Supporting the NHS 75 years and beyond

Find out more about the Higher Development Award

Health Education England continues to engage with Health & Care Employers across the country, in collaboration with the Association of Colleges, providing support to structure the Higher Development Award (HDA).

The HDA is a personal and professional development programme for Support Workers that enables Clinical and Non-Clinical Support Workers from all sectors to “Be the best and acknowledge potential”.

As part of celebrating NHS 75 years, requirements to support training and education for Health and care staff has never been greater. Working with local colleges offers an important provision to Health and Care employers by offering technical/vocational qualifications, recruitment pathways into NHS and care roles as well as English, Maths and digitals skills.

Acknowledging the opportunities colleges can provide in communities, will help alleviate the workforce pressures health services are facing and support robust pathways to grow the pipeline of future carers.

Celebrating current successes

The HDA enables Support Staff to build on the expansive knowledge and skills they already hold, give further tools to increase awareness and improve patient/service user outcomes.


The Higher Development Award provided us with an opportunity to develop a new training programme which supports individuals to return to education, develop confidence, and enhance their employability and academic skills. South Devon College worked in partnership with Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust, and Devon County Council, to identify the knowledge, skills and behaviour required by those working in entry level roles, to support their progression within the workplace, or within education.

The Level 1 Higher Development Award is aimed at those working in both clinical and non-clinical roles within the Health and Social Care Sector. The course includes a Level 1 Certificate in Occupational Studies for the Workplace, a Workplace Improvement Project, and the opportunity to develop English and Maths skills.

Our first cohort are currently approaching their final assessments and are preparing to present their Workplace Improvement Projects. Learners have grown in confidence and are currently discussing their progression opportunities, including the completion of Level 2 Functional Skills in Maths and English, higher level study, and applying for apprenticeship or employment opportunities.

Lucy Parkin Senior Curriculum Head for Health & Social Care Professions & Nursing

Natalie Collins Programme Coordinator for Health Apprenticeships | Health & Social Care Professions & Nursing


Key considerations:

  • Flexibility – staff remain in their role whilst studying, 6-9 study days (dependent on level), with additional learning in their own time to achieve Functional Skills.
  • Partnership to deliver programme with local FE (Further Education) or Adult Community College who draw down funding for the programmes and provide accreditation with awarding body.
  • Can be delivered via a blended Virtual and Face to Face model to support staff across Health, Social, Community, Mental Health and Primary Care regardless of setting.
  • Retention – helps to motivate and engage support staff, helping to retain staff in their current role as well as those who wish to progress.

If your organisation would like to discuss this development programme further please contact:

Case studies

Employer partnerships to deliver work-ready skills: a Bolton College and NHS case study

Bolton College have provided a case study on their work with the NHS and their contribution to the local community. The case study explores how Bolton College work with major local employers to develop courses to directly address local skills needs, current and future.

You can read the full case study HERE.

NHS 75 social media campaign

On 5 July 2023, the NHS will be marking 75 years of service and celebrating this birthday with their NHS 75 campaign. This is an important day to highlight the role that colleges play in training NHS staff. You can find out more about the NHS campaign here.

Share the tweets
On 5 July please join us in sharing the tweets and graphics we have prepared below. We will be shouting about the brilliant NHS staff and the important role colleges play so make sure you are following @AoC_info on twitter.

We encourage you to also write your own social media posts about the health-related qualifications on offer at your college, the work you do with the NHS, good news stories and case studies. Please tag us on twitter @AoC_info and we will reshare these throughout the day.

The NHS is staffed by brilliant people and throughout the years colleges have trained many of those. Today we are celebrating the NHS marking 75 years of service and the important role colleges play in securing its workforce. @AoC_info #NHS75 #LoveOurColleges


Colleges educate and train 1.6 million people every year, including many who move into health-related roles within the NHS. Join us in showing support for the NHS on their 75th birthday. @AoC_info #NHS75 #LoveOurColleges


70,000 college students studying health related qualifications are studying at Level 3 and gaining the skills needed to move into healthcare roles within the NHS. Join us in showing support for the NHS on their 75th birthday #NHS75 #LoveOurColleges


Did you know many colleges offer higher level programmes? Around 7,000 college students are studying for health-related higher certificates, higher diplomas or foundation degrees which are an important route into NHS jobs. @AoC_info #NHS75 #LoveOurColleges


Get in touch
If you have anything exciting planned, case studies or good new stories about the work you do with the NHS, please share them with us at