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Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship / Arts in Health Specialisation Level 5 (Foundation Degree)

The Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship / Arts in Health Specialisation (Foundation Degree) is the exit qualification for an apprenticeship programme being offered by Brunel University London.

The Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship with Arts in Health Specialisation will provide an educational framework for student apprentices to work in a range of healthcare settings where they can offer creative therapeutic interventions, high standards of care, and significant input into assessment and treatment plans. Assistant Practitioners’ duties include many of the responsibilities of healthcare assistants; however have a more in-depth understanding about factors that influence health and ill-health. Apprentice students will learn how to provide high quality and compassionate care involving activities such as creative group work, narrative based interpersonal communication using a range of creative skills that impact on the health of the patients or clients within their specialist area. The Assistant Practitioner will be able to undertake the full range of duties appropriate to their role, confidently and competently to the apprenticeship standard developed in collaboration with the health sector.

At Brunel University London we have a history of excellence in healthcare education. The apprenticeship will provide high levels of understanding about the therapeutic impact of creative engagement. From creative writing to applied theatre, our programme has been developed to enable therapeutic engagement using a range of media suitable to the context. Our range of teaching modules gives students the opportunity to specialise in different methods of creative clinical engagement. The Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship / Arts in Health Specialisation builds on our outstanding history of partnership with the healthcare sector, leading to opportunities in nursing, therapies and a range of other professions.


Successful apprentices will gain an accredited Level 5 Assistant Practitioner foundation degree (FDA) from Brunel University London. They must also demonstrate that they have met the standards of the Care Certificate during the first part of their apprenticeship. Where applicable support to attain Level 2 English and Maths will be provided.

Foundation Degree in Arts in Health

The aims of this apprenticeship are to input into a high level workforce to enable NHS agenda for change band 4 and 5 staff to work therapeutically and creatively within a healthcare context. To enable this, we will be exploring key skills and knowledge obtained at Band 3 during their apprenticeship:-

  • Team working 
  • Patient care 
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Project development  
  • Partnership work
  • Using arts
  • Group skills
  • Knowledge of patient physiology

Programme Lead - Prof Dominik Havsteen-Franklin

Dominik completed his MSc in the Psychodynamics of Human Development at Birkbeck University and completed his PhD at Essex University on the study of metaphor in art psychotherapy. Dominik specialises in arts therapies research and practice development in mental health care contexts.

dominik havsteen franklin

Academic lead - Meretta Elliott

Meretta trained as an actress at the School of Theatre in Manchester and went on to complete an MA in Drama Studies at the University of North London. She specialises in applied drama practice including Forum Theatre and role play techniques.


Course description

The foundation degree comprises of nine modules:

  • Introduction to Arts in Health
  • Introduction to Image Creation
  • Learning Collaboration Through Music
  • Work Experience
  • Drama in Health: Approaches
  • Drama in Health: Project
  • Writing for Well-Being
  • Human Physiology and Arts Practice
  • Synoptic Overview

These modules will develop real life skills that help the apprentices to develop projects in healthcare contexts through co-produced activities that have a final production such as an exhibition or performance.

By integrating apprentices with undergraduate students from a range of disciplines, this approach enables a rich academic experience that exposes the students to a wide range of skills and expands their knowledge base in collaboration with students on campus. At Brunel we have integrated learning for students across programmes to enable a wide set of skills applicable to health care contexts. 


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Arts in Health Specialisation

Our apprentices are enthusiastic members of a training group who have embarked on the programme for a range of reasons, focusing on building their experience of working in health contexts and how arts can improve health outcomes. Apprentices have joined us where they are interested in beginning a career in health, either in nursing, arts therapies, arts in health, occupational therapy, activity coordination or other related occupations. Lastly, all applicants will be supported to achieve an accredited health qualification (Level 5, foundation degree) which will also enhance their career prospects.

The basic skills of the assistant practitioner in health with arts in health specialisation are enhanced with the addition of providing contextualised creative approaches in care. In practice this means that 10 percent of the apprentice's time will be used to design and deliver arts in health practice sessions, for example, improvised use of arts, theatre, workshops, creative writing. In the rest of the week you will notice an enhanced capacity to work in teams, reflect on patient or client experience, and to think creatively about patient or client needs. This is an innovative approach to delivering apprenticeships designed to increase staff retention, meaningful patient contact and provide unique contributions to the workplace that have a significant impact.

Values and Behaviours of the role are in line with both the Foundation Degree Apprenticeship Standard and the NHS Constitution.

Values – Assistant Practitioners must be:

      Behaviours - Assistant Practitioners must always:


·        treat individuals with dignity, respecting individual’s beliefs, culture, values and preferences


·         respect and adopt an empathetic approach


·         demonstrate courage to challenge areas of concern and work to best practice


·         be adaptable


·         demonstrate discretion.

Working in Partnership

We work as partners, providing a dedicated associate director together with the wider team, who will support you and your employees throughout the apprenticeship journey.

Your apprentice’s partnership lead will visit them in the workplace to support their learning. We will provide a full range of study options to apprentices that meet your workforce needs. We will also provide supervision for mentors and offer  three-way reviews as part of the programme and to ensure that the workplace objectives are being met and the apprentice is sufficiently supported to meet the learning tasks.

Supporting you every step of the way

  • Help define your requirements and training needs, including how to get the most out of your levy.
  • Deliver apprenticeships that meet your needs
  • Support you in workforce design, aims and ambitions for your workforce at agenda for change band 3-5.
  • Work together to develop your people’s skills and meet your long-term training goals


Apprenticeships are work-based so training and assessment predominantly takes place within your organisation, however at least 20 per cent of an apprentice’s time must be dedicated towards their study. The 20 per cent of their time will be based at Brunel University London, on a Tuesday. This must be part of their contracted hours, however we realise that the apprentice will also need to allow some flexibility in their role to allow for duties to be met for example at weekends within their contracted hours.

This higher apprenticeship programme runs over two years with day release on a Tuesday at Brunel University London and work-based learning. All activity in care that the apprentice undertakes is working towards meeting the apprenticeship standard for Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship / Arts in Health Specialisation.

Tuition fees

The apprenticeship levy will be paid by employers in any sector with a pay bill of more than £3 million per year. Those employers will be able to use their apprenticeship levy funds to access degree apprenticeships from higher education providers.

Non-levy paying employers will receive up to 90 per cent funding towards the costs of apprenticeships. Higher and degree apprenticeships can be offered to anyone over the age of 19. There is no upper age limit and no cost to the apprentice.

The training costs for employers may vary for individuals depending on their age. Apprenticeships can be open to current members of staff to support career development.

Who can apply

An apprentice can be a new or existing member of staff. They must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week and must not already hold a degree in that area or be receiving funding for other training.

An employer must employ the apprentice in a real job with a real salary and financially contribute towards the cost of training and accreditation with support from the government.

Entry requirements

Individual employers will identify entry requirements in terms of previous qualifications, training or other criteria.  

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Eligible to work in England
  • Not in full-time education
  • Employed 30 hours or more
  • Candidates must have Level 2 Maths and English (equivalent to GCSE grade C or above)
    However, where this has not been obtained, Brunel will support the applicant in achieving this through their healthcare organisation prior to application.


For more information on the Arts in Health Foundation Degree, contact