Abstract The acquisition of a range of diverse clinical skills is a central feature of the pre-registration nursing curriculum. Prior to exposure to clinical practice, it is essential that learners have the opportunity to practise and develop such skills in a safe and controlled environment under the direction and supervision of clinical experts. However, the competing demands of the HE nursing curriculum coupled with an increased number of learners have resulted in a reduced emphasis on traditional apprenticeship learning. This paper presents an alternative model for clinical skills teaching that draws upon the principles of cognitive apprenticeship [Collins, A., Brown, J.S., Newman, S., 1989. Cognitive Apprenticeship: teaching the crafts of reading, writing and mathematics. In: Resnick, L.B. (Ed.) Knowing. Learning and Instruction: Essays in Honor of Robert Glaser. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey, pp. 453-494] and situated cognition within a technologically rich and authentic learning environment. It will show how high quality DVD materials illustrating clinical skills performed by expert practitioners have been produced and used in conjunction with CCTV and digital recording technologies to support learning within a pedagogic framework appropriate to skills acquisition. It is argued that this model not only better prepares the student for the time they will spend in the practice setting, but also lays the foundation for the development of a clinically competent practitioner with the requisite physical and cognitive skills who is fit for purpose [UKCC, 1999. Fitness for Practice: The UKCC Commission for Nursing and Midwifery Education. United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing Midwifery and Health Visiting, London].