Nurse Vocational Training Scheme (VTS)

The Primary Care Nurse Training & Preceptorship Programme is a 1-year Vocational Training Scheme delivered by South Yorkshire Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub.

It builds on the success of the previous GPN Ready Scheme. It is a post-qualification GP Nurse preceptorship aimed at newly qualified nurses and new-to-primary-care nurses who want to have a career in General Practice.

Read the latest report: Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) for nurses new to general practice
for the October 2022 to September 2023 cohort.

Read the independent evaluation: Evaluation of the South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw (SY&B) General Practice Nurse Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) published by Dr Robin Lewis PhD, Sheffield Hallam University in April 2022.

NHSE 2024 Funding for the VTS Fellowship Preceptorship Programme

The NHSE funding to develop and deliver the VTS Fellowship Preceptorship Programme for new practice nurses is under review.
Any nurse currently on the VTS programme will be able to continue to complete it.
The Training Hub is working with partners to find a funding solution to enable the programme to continue to run. We usually run a cohort in October, and as soon as a funding decision has been made about this, we will update the website.
If you would like to register your interest for the VTS programme, and be notified when further information is available, please complete the EOI form below

Expression of Interest (EOI)

How the VTS programme works

The VTS Fellowship Preceptorship Programme is open to nurses who are newly employed in General Practice throughout the South Yorkshire region. Ideally the nurse will have been working in General Practice for 6 months or less. The comprehensive programme covers both the clinical and non-clinical aspects training, and also delivers preceptorship through one to one visits and clinical supervision. You can see more about the topics covered in the section below.

If funding becomes available, there may also be some one year contracts for newly qualified, and new-to-general-practice nurses to access the VTS Fellowship Preceptorship Programme. These posts will be advertised through NHS jobs. The nurses will have placements in general practice in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster or Barnsley whilst accessing the programme content. At the end of the year’s contract they will have undertaken the foundation of training needed to be a practice nurse, and will be eminently employable across the region

Why the VTS programme was developed

There are increasing numbers of newly qualified nurses considering General Practice Nursing careers, but they do not come out of training with the skill set and attributes required of a GPN.
They require significant preceptorship and in-practice supervision to develop, which many practices do not have the training capacity to offer.
The South Yorkshire Primary Care VTS programme provides relevant training for Practice Nurses in the first year of their career. There is then the option to continue for a second year which will provide training around the skills needed to develop a quality improvement project. They will continue to have peer support and clinical supervision.

What is the structure of the VTS programme?

The Programme focuses on four key domains:

  • Clinical Competency
  • Landscape of General Practice
  • Communication and Consultation Skills
  • Professional Behaviours and Reflective Practice

What is does the course content include?

Examples of content:

  • Consultation skills
  • Phlebotomy
  • Vaccinations and Immunisations
  • Motivational interviewing and Health Promotion
  • Basic Life Support
  • Cervical Cytology
  • Wound Care
  • Ear Care
  • Basic Contraception and Sexual Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Travel Health
  • Quality & Outcome Frameworks
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Health Inequalities
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mental Health in Primary Care
  • Quality Improvement/ Audit Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Patient Centred Care
  • Mentorship & Supervision

How do I apply?

Route 1 – newly employed in GP

  • If you are new to practice nursing and already employed in practice you can access the programme directly.
  • VTS programme launch dates are usually May and October.
  • Please complete an EOI form


Route 2 – not already in General Practice

please note the funding for this for October 2024 is still to be confirmed

  • 1-year fixed term contract to access the VTS programme,
  • 2 placements across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham or Sheffield.
  • VTS programme launch dates are usually May and October.
  • Recruitment takes place 3 months before the launch date.

To submit an expression of interest in the VTS programme, please complete the EOI form

How can I make my application stand out?

We are always being asked how potential applicants can make their applications stand out and what we are looking for during the selection process.

We are looking for nurses with a good understanding of what working in General Practice is all about, so research the role and look for the characteristics that you think a GPN would need…why would you be good in this role?

If you have previous experience in Primary Care then mention this in your application, but even if you don’t then look at the experience that you do have and think about how this relates to the Primary Care environment. Make sure that you also know about current issues and developments in Primary Care and what changes are affecting practice nurses.

Above all, you need to demonstrate a clear passion for the job; what drives you to want to be a GPN?

Finally- please proofread your application and make sure that it is grammatically correct; GPNs need to be great communicators and nothing will let your application down more than a poorly constructed personal statement!

Will I be guaranteed a job at the end of the programme?

On completion of the programme, nurses will have the necessary clinical skills and experience to apply for Practice Nurse jobs in General Practice.

Although we cannot guarantee a job at the end of the programme, there will be further support from the SY Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub to match nurses to practice roles across South Yorkshire and ongoing support to progress further into specialist disease area management, prescribing and Advanced Clinical Practice.

What does the training programme look like? Are there exams and assignments?

Training takes place over a 1-year period and will consist of regular full-day sessions out of practice (update: to comply with social distancing measures, it may be necessary to deliver some training sessions online.)

In addition, nurse trainees have protected time to reflect on their learning and practice, attend peer learning sessions and take part in action learning sets.

The majority of the training is delivered by the experienced Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub clinical team and some is bought in from HEI/ other providers.

Training provided offers front-loaded clinical skills (e.g. ear syringing, venepuncture, smear-taking, baby vaccinations,) so that learners can bring practical skills to their work in practice on rotation while they consolidate the other aspects of their learning.

Training also consists of regular peer review and action learning sets to encourage reflective practice. Skills are assessed in practice or by an external trainer (e.g. Cytology) – there are currently no formal exams or assignments.

Who delivers the training?

Primary care-specific clinical nursing and organisational skills plus pastoral and mentoring support is delivered by the clinical team at the SY Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub.

We have a fantastic team of experienced General Practice nurse educators managed by Nurse Lead Emma Thompson and training is almost entirely nurse led.

Some training is bought in from specialist partners (e.g. Rotherham Ear Care, Wakefield NEPSEC.)

What support can I expect to have on the Training Programme?

Mentoring and support is provided both by the clinical team on rotations and by the Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub clinical team.

It is also provided through key Federation Nurse leads in Place areas across SY and through peer support from the cohort of trainee GP nurses.

Do I need to have experience in General Practice to apply for this Training Programme?

You need no previous experience of General Practice to apply, but you should be able to demonstrate an interest and an understanding of working in Primary Care.

I am a new-to-Primary-Care nurse and I have just been employed at a GP surgery in South Yorkshire. Can I apply for a place on the training programme?

The Training Hub also wish to support practices who recruit newly qualified nurses/ nurses new to primary care. If you have very recently been employed by a GP surgery within the SY area (within the past year) you may be eligible for a place on the training programme.

You need not go through the application process, as your salary is paid by your practice employer.

Your practice will be required to release you for all training days in the 12-month programme (training grant paid by the Training Hub as a contribution to costs for training days out of practice.)

If you and your practice are interested in this then please complete the EOI form

Hosting a Primary Care VTS Nurse

Nurses on the Primary Care Training Programme work on two 6-month rotations in a wide variety of locations across South Yorkshire.

Rotations are organised in practices that can provide mentorship/ preceptor support and practices are assessed for suitability by the SY Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub.

If you wish to host a nurse on one of the 6-month rotations please contact us to express your interest.

Host a VTS Nurse

Our 1-year Primary Care Nurse Training Programme won the award for Preceptorship of the Year 2021 (under 1,500 Nursing staff) in the Nursing Times Workforce Summit Awards.

Our 1-year Primary Care Nurse Training Programme was awarded the National Preceptorship Interim Quality Mark in January 2024.