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The RCN Nursing Cadet Scheme

Take the first step toward a career in nursing 

Gain the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in nursing with confidence

Supported by HRH Prince of Wales, our Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme helps young people develop their skills and support them towards a career in nursing.

Our scheme runs at selected locations across Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you’re aged between 16 and 25 and are passionate about caring for people in need, get in touch today.

Cadets sitting together waving their workbooks

How it works 

Step 1

Get in touch 

Let us know you’re interested using the contact form below. If you're aged between 16 and 25 and would like to explore nursing as a potential career, we'd love to hear from you.

Step 2

We'll match you with a local partner

We work with education providers, youth organisations and health providers to create rewarding opportunities. We'll help you get set up with all the materials and guidance you'll need.

Step 3

Complete the course alongside other learning or work commitments

The scheme usually takes 60 hours to complete. Our selected education or youth partner delivers approximately 40 hours of training. Our selected health partner provides 20 hours of observational experience, watching nursing staff in action on a ward, or similar.

Step 4

Receive your certificate and celebrate!

When you’ve finished the course, you’ll get a certificate, module transcript and a special alumni pin.  We'll also send you our quarterly newsletter and you'll have the opportunity become a scheme ambassador. If you complete your course in Wales, you’ll also be guaranteed an interview for a Healthcare Support Worker role. 

What you'll gain

  • 20 hours of observational clinical experience, watching nursing staff in action
  • An understanding of how to pursue a role in nursing
  • A certificate you can share with potential employers to help you stand out from the crowd
  • The opportunity to meet other young people interested in caring for people with health needs
  • The chance to become an ambassador and inspire future cadets
A group of cadets in red shirts in a clinical setting lifting boxes.

Luke's story 

Luke used our scheme as a stepping-stone to a rewarding new job in mental health nursing. He's also a scheme ambassador, inspiring young people like him to take the first step in their nursing career.

Learn more about Luke's journey in our video.

Get in touch 

We want to hear from you, whether you’re a young person interested in taking part in the scheme, a parent or a prospective scheme partner. Submit your details and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. 

RCN Cadet Alumni

The RCN Cadet Alumni is for RCN nursing cadets who have successfully completed the programme to be able to stay involved until they reach the age of 25.

Cadet Alumni receive four newsletters a year and invitations to events and opportunities to support the scheme in their area by acting as ambassadors to support the learning of RCN nursing cadets currently going through the programme.

Learn more from our head of scheme, Prof Dave Clark, in our video. 

In the meantime, why not read our newsletter?

Our Autumn 2023 newsletter is packed full of real-life examples of our cadets in action, plus learning and development opportunities to get involved in.

Image of a newsletter being read on an ipad, held by two hands
Two cadets working together in a clinical setting.

I was shown how to administer medication and take blood sugar levels. It was so eye-opening. Thank you for getting me onto the placement.

Katie, from Devon RCN Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet

Partner opportunities

We partner with three types of organisation. Each partner supports up to 20 nursing cadets. If you’d like your organisation to be part of this rewarding scheme, get in touch using the contact form.

These partners support the scheme by offering grant funding. This allows repeat cohorts or new cohorts in geographical areas, improving local workforce pipelines or dovetailing apprenticeships schemes.

These may be educational establishments, or uniformed or non-uniformed youth volunteer organisations for young people aged between 16 and 25. They are responsibly for safeguarding cadets and supporting their journey, as well as designing and delivering the learning modules ensuring cadets are ready for their placement.

Health partners ensure cadets receive an authentic work experience. They provide 20 hours of observational clinical experience and support the placement learning outcomes. Sometimes, health partners deliver learning to cadets to support the youth partners and enhance the cadets’ experience.

What people are saying about the scheme 

6 blog posts

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