Introducing the Clinical Associate in Psychology Apprenticeship

The University of Kent’s School of Psychology launched the Clinical Associate Psychologist Degree Apprenticeship during National Apprenticeship Week, with the first cohort of learners from the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust being inducted on Thursday 10 February.

The Clinical Associate Psychologist (CAP) Masters-level Apprenticeship was launched by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in the summer of 2020 after being developed by a trailblazer group of NHS Trusts and the University of Kent are one of only eight universities to offer this apprenticeship standard. The aim of this degree apprenticeship is to provide the general public with greater access to psychologically informed mental health and wellbeing services, filling an identified skills gap between Assistant Psychologist and registered Practitioner Psychologists. Working in health services alongside existing Psychological Practitioners, a Clinical Associate Psychologist’s work is informed by psychological theory and evidence-based psychological interventions. Each CAP specialises in a scope of practice, the first cohort at the University of Kent will specialise in ‘Adults across the lifespan’.

Apprentices will follow the Level 7 Clinical Associate Psychologist Integrated Degree Apprenticeship, and also achieve an MSc in Clinical Associate Psychology at the end of their 18-month programme.

Dr Ben Smith, Director of Psychological Therapies for Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has been working with the University of Kent to co-create this apprenticeship. Ben said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to bring in a new, trained workforce into psychological practice and it will help us deliver the NHS Long Term Plan to meet the psychological needs of people with complex needs in Kent & Medway. With the University of Kent’s School of Psychology we have co-created and designed a new, flexible course and curriculum locally. Our new CAP trainees are people from diverse backgrounds who have the right values, attitudes and aspirations to make a difference to the NHS in Kent & Medway and they offer us an opportunity to grow our own talent and do so year on year.”

Unlike other master’s degrees, an apprenticeship combines hands-on, workplace learning alongside academic study. Apprenticeships are designed to ensure the employee gains the knowledge, skills and behaviours to be competent in their clinical job role and have demonstrable experience on completion of their training.

Dr Emma Travers-Hill is a trained clinical psychologist and lecturer in psychology for the University of Kent and has been the driving force behind the development of the Clinical Associate in Psychology (CAP) Apprenticeship. Emma said, “We are excited that we have the opportunity to provide clinical training to our local mental health care services in order to improve psychological provision in the area, as well as contributing nationally to the development of this brand-new psychological profession.  From a school’s perspective the apprenticeship also offers our psychology graduates a masters-level training route into clinical practice which broadens their career options.”

At present, the Clinical Associate Psychologist apprenticeship is being delivered to a closed cohort of learners from the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust; however, we are taking expressions of interest from employers in the mental health and social services industry. To find out more and arrange a discussion with our apprenticeship team, please email