Higher Certificate in Healthcare Support Practice - (Apprenticeship)

Healthcare Training Courses
2 Years
Validated by
Dublin Main Campus
NFQ Level
Apply Now Contact Us

Course Overview

Looking to progress your health care assistant career?

The Higher Certificate in Healthcare Support Practice apprenticeship programme is delivered through a carefully blended mix of classroom and workplace education and training. Apprentices are employed full-time throughout the programme so they are earning while they are learning.


This Higher Certificate in Healthcare Support Practice programme aims to develop compassionate, competent and confident advanced healthcare assistant practitioners (AHAPs) who are qualified to deliver a wide range of clinical and care skills, can work autonomously, and demonstrate the requisite interpersonal skills.


This programme is funded by the Apprenticeship Council of Ireland as part of a new initiative Generation Apprenticeship which is a major expansion project to more than double the number of learners of all ages and backgrounds taking the apprenticeship route.

Why Study Health Care with Griffith College?

This programme is a culmination of a two-year development process, during which there was extensive consultation with the healthcare sector. It has been developed specifically for healthcare assistants to provide them with a pathway from Further Education and Training (FET) at Level 5 to this programme at Higher Education and Training (HET) Level 6.

  • Griffith College is supported by a strong Consortium Steering Group made up of Health Care Assistants, the Alliance of Healthcare Assistants in Ireland, and high-profile representatives from the Private Hospitals Association, Nursing Home Ireland, and Home and Community Care Ireland.
  • Griffith College takes a holistic approach to learning, supporting apprentices throughout their apprenticeship programme through a network of academic success coaches.
  • Full third-level college campus resources are available to support apprentices.

The programme will provide a logical progression for healthcare assistants who have completed the NFQ FET level 5 awards to progress their careers as advanced healthcare assistant practitioners. The programme is aligned to recent developments for healthcare assistants internationally, particularly in the UK and Australia.

Benefits for Apprentices

  • Security of employment
  • Earning while you are learning
  • Successful candidates receive a Higher Certificate in Healthcare Support Practice
  • Enhanced skillset
  • Pathway to a higher paid role
  • Lifetime portfolio to evidence personal achievements
  • Progression routes to further education
  • Enhanced status in the healthcare team

Course Highlights

  • Learn how to take responsibility for your own learning
  • Build and apply your leadership and management skills within the scope of your role as an advanced healthcare assistant practitioner
  • Acquire new clinical skills
  • Understand the relationship between body systems and diseases
  • Gain greater insights into day-to-day care procedures
  • Learn how to promote health and wellbeing
  • Learn under the guidance of a dedicated, highly-qualified mentor

Intake Dates

  • Dublin - Full-Time - March 2024
  • Dublin - Full-Time - September 2024

Course Details

Year One Modules

The aim of this module is to introduce apprentices to the theory and practice of communication and interpersonal skills required for effective practice in the healthcare sector and to facilitate them in the development of their competencies and research skills.


The aim of the module is to increase apprentices’ self-awareness and to encourage self-development and the implementation of reflective skills and processes. Furthermore, the role of the advanced healthcare assistant practitioner is put in context with other members of the healthcare team. It also aims to provide apprentices with the necessary team-working skills to operate effectively within the team. 

The aim of this module is to introduce the apprentices to the stages of human development, the various concepts associated with holistic healthcare (including both physical and mental health considerations) and the application of these concepts within their own care setting. It also aims to facilitate the apprentices to focus on the care recipient’s individual rights and needs.

The aim of this module is to provide apprentices with the skills and competences necessary to safely undertake clinical tasks under the direction of the registered nurse or other registered healthcare professional depending on the setting. 

The aim of this module is to facilitate apprentices to develop a knowledge of the body, its systems and normal/abnormal physiology and to identify how each system is affected by infection and disease and be able to apply this in their care practice.

The module aims to enable apprentices to play an active role in health promotion by developing a holistic approach to the care they provide to care recipients. The module specifically addresses the importance of ensuring that care recipients maintain healthy nutrition and hydration statuses. It also highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy nutrition and hydration status for the care recipient.

The aim of this module is to equip apprentices with the knowledge, skills and competence to enhance the quality of life of the older person (including persons with cognitive impairment) and to address their needs in a dignified, inclusive and holistic manner.

Year Two Modules

This module aims to develop the apprentices' knowledge and awareness of mental health. It will also facilitate the apprentice to develop their ability to support care recipients who are experiencing a mental health difficulty.

The aim of this module is to further develop apprentices’ knowledge and practice of professional communication and interpersonal skills required by an advanced healthcare assistant practitioner when dealing with a broad range of care recipients. 


The aim of this module is to introduce apprentices to the theories and applications of leadership and management and to further develop their personal / professional roles and responsibilities in the care context. The module also explores the role of teaching and research within this professional development for the healthcare assistant.

The aim of this module is to provide apprentices with the skills and competences necessary to undertake clinical tasks under the direction of the registered nurse or other registered healthcare professional depending on the setting. The module further enables the apprentices to develop good practice in relation to providing privacy, dignity and safety for the care recipient. 

The aim of this module is to facilitate apprentices to extend their knowledge of the human body - following on from Understanding the Body Part 1 - its systems and normal / abnormal physiology in order to be able to apply this knowledge to their care practice.

The aim of this module is to introduce apprentices to the principles and practice of ethical, legal and palliative care within their scope of practice as an advanced healthcare assistant practitioner. 

Elective Modules

Apprentices select one of the four modules below as their final module.

The aim of this module is to facilitate the apprentices in promoting optimal levels of independence among care recipients in the home and community. Apprentices are given an insight into best practice for lone working and associated safe practice. The module also provides apprentices with a broad knowledge of illnesses and disorders and the specific care requirements for working with a care recipient who has a life-shortening condition.

The aim of this module is to equip the apprentices with the knowledge, skills and competences to function as a support worker within the operating theatre department under the supervision of a registered nurse or midwife.

This module aims to impart apprentices with the knowledge, skills and learning outcomes necessary to provide effective, person-centred, holistic care to people with disabilities in line with relevant health and social care legislation, standards and guidelines.

The aim of this module is to impart the apprentice with the knowledge, skills and competencies to provide appropriate support to care recipients with mental health difficulties. It further supports the promotion of positive mental health and prevention, building on the outcomes from the core Introduction to Mental Health module. It also aims to build awareness of the legal and ethical issues in the context of mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Successful graduates will receive a National Framework of Qualifications Level 6 Higher Certificate in Healthcare Support Practice.

You need to be employed and your employer must be registered to deliver the apprenticeship with SOLAS (The Statutory Body responsible for apprenticeships). Your employer must also be willing to appoint a workplace mentor to work with you for the duration of the programme.

The apprenticeship is two years with three semesters of 14 weeks each per annum (i.e. 42 weeks per annum) and a requirement to attend one day a week for ten weeks of each semester.

You will need to register your interest in the programme here with the programme management team.

Once you have registered your interest, we will contact you to explain the advantages of having advanced healthcare assistant practitioners in your organisation and to advise and support you through the SOLAS approval process so your staff and organisation can benefit from this new and innovative programme. To help you we have prepared a self-evaluation form which you can use to familiarise yourself with what SOLAS may be looking for when they come to visit your site. We advise you on what if any development work you need to do to meet the requirements.

Following this you will need to register your interest with SOLAS here and they will process your application to become an approved employer for the delivery of the programme. An authorised officer may need to visit your site to satisfy themselves that you meet programme requirements. Once you are approved you can proceed to propose apprentices for the programme.

For more information

Jonathan Murphy

Jonathan Murphy

Apprenticeships Head of Apprenticeship Department
Apprenticeships Lecturer
  • Dublin Main Campus


Course Structure

This programme is structured over two calendar years. There are three semesters per year each of 14 weeks' duration. The programme is delivered using a combination of 30 days a year in the classroom, and on-the-job training supported by a virtual learning environment. The programme is assessed using a combination of classroom-based assessments and on-the-job structured continuous assessment evidenced through an electronic portfolio.

Timetables TBC

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

You are employed by an approved employer who is willing to support you during this apprenticeship.

AND one of the following applies:

  • NFQ Healthcare level 5 Major Award with a minimum of 3 distinctions.
  • Leaving Certificate with five subjects O6/H7, at least foundation mathematics, six months’ relevant work experience and two relevant NFQ level 5 healthcare components.
  • Mature candidate with two years’ experience working as a healthcare assistant.

English Language Requirements 

The English language entry requirements for the programme are CEF B2+ or equivalent. Candidates with English language levels below CEF B2+ must first reach this minimum standard before enrolling on the academic programme. 

Additional Requirements

Employers are required to ensure that apprentices have certified people moving and handling, and first aid responder skills in advance of their enrolment on the programme.

Candidates also need to be Garda vetted and have had any relevant vaccinations for the workplace.               

How to Apply

Applicants to apprenticeship positions should apply directly to Griffith College using the button below.

Employers are asked to register interest using the button below so we can guide you through the process.                                                                                         


Candidates will pay an annual registration fee of €1,000. 

Fees can be paid by flexible instalment payment plans.

  • Fees can be paid by flexible instalment payment plans.
  • Fees can also be paid by one's employer as part of training fees.


Graduates may take up positions as advanced healthcare assistant practitioners in hospitals, residential care centres, low-dependency community living units, home care arrangements and daycare centres.

They can also progress their education and training in the areas of social care, nursing or community studies at third-level colleges.

Ready to take the next step?