A CARE service operating specialist villages for older people with dementia, including one in Atherton, is pioneering a new nursing apprenticeship.

Kelly Haddock, a trainee nurse associate at Belong Atherton, is halfway through her apprentice foundation degree programme offered by Belong in conjunction with the University of Salford.

It offers practical nursing experience outside of hospital settings.

She works in the dementia care specialist's nursing team, supporting the needs of the residents, while receiving extensive training and gaining the clinical knowledge and experience required for nursing associate status.

Kelly, 33, said: “There are an increasing number of new training options being created for people, who like me, discover their nursing vocation later on in their career.

"I've been able to build on my experience as a support worker and, once the foundation degree is complete, I’ll be able to work towards a becoming a registered nurse.

“I’m so happy and very thankful that Belong is championing this new Trainee Nursing Associate role; it’s the best of both worlds, studying alongside working at the village.

"I previously studied at university but had no idea what my long-term career would look like and Belong has provided me with a career for life.”

The apprenticeship role is relatively new to social and primary care and is currently being piloted in care settings with nursing provision, as well as GP surgeries.