Education and training

We want to improve access to careers in nursing and midwifery. This is further to the Chief Nursing Officer’s Commission into Widening Participation into Nursing and Midwifery Education and Careers (CNO Commission) which we published in December 2017.

We are also working to attract people into careers into NMAHP professions and healthcare science. We are launching a national recruitment campaign in late autumn 2019 which will mainly target senior school pupils looking at which degree subjects to study.

We have committed £40 million to create 2,600 extra nursing training places. In 2019 there were over 4,000 places for entry into nursing and midwifery degrees.

Find out more in the following sections:

Funded programmes

We commission and fund all pre-registration nursing and midwifery programmes. We continue to provide a non-means tested, non-repayable bursary for nursing and midwifery students. We increased this  from £6,578 per year to £8,100 in September 2019, and will be increasing it again to £10,000 from September 2020. We provide £500,000 for a discretionary fund to provide a ‘safety net’ for nursing and midwifery students in most need. As well as £3 million per year of additional financial support for nursing and midwifery students with children or dependants.

More information is in our support for nursing and midwifery students 2019-2020 booklet

We support entry into degree programmes in nursing through many routes including:

We also promote entry by supporting OU numeracy and literacy access courses.

Return to practice

If you have been a registered nurse or midwife in the past, you may be able to return to practice through one of the return to practice programmes that we sponsor. There are more details on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) website. More information on the return to practice course can be found on the  NES website.


Once nurses and midwives complete a degree course to become a nurse or a midwife, they register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the professional regulator of these professions in the UK.

Professional standards

A new standards framework for nursing and midwifery education was published by the NMC in January 2019. 

Scottish universities are working to implement the new standards by September 2020.

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs)

Advanced practitioners are essential to support the increased capacity and capability needed within the health and care workforce in Scotland. We are taking a national approach to advanced practice through the Transforming Roles Programme. This programme brings together NHS staff, Professional Bodies, Higher Education Institutions and NHS Education Scotland (NES) to deliver the processes and support needed to enable AHPs to have nationally consistent, sustainable and progressive roles with clear education and career pathways.

We are working with colleagues in (NES) to look at how we can access more sources of data to deliver improvements in AHP workforce planning. We are supporting the development of a new tool within NES to allow predictive mapping of inflows and outflows of staff throughout the AHP career pathway.

We are working with Health Improvement Scotland (HIS) to develop clinical support tools as part of the safe staffing bill implementation.

More information

More information on training and education for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals is on the NHS Education for Scotland website.

Healthcare scientists

We are discussing the development of education and how best to ensure sustainability in the Healthcare Science workforce. Further information is available on Healthcare science education and training information on the NES website.

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