T-Level courses are relatively new, and they are designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in a specific industry. These courses are intended to bridge the gap between education and employment, and they offer students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in their chosen field.
Recently, we sat down with Hannah Davidson, GAiN Apprentice Nursing Assistant, to discuss her T-Level studying experience and how her successful graduation has enabled her to obtain a place on the GAiN programme that commenced in September 2023.
- What T-Level course did you study at school or college?
T Level Health.
- What made you decide to do a T-Level subject?
I always knew I wanted to work in healthcare, and I liked the fact that I could actually do placement in the hospital and work alongside nurses, healthcare assistants, and other NHS workers. Being more coursework based and getting to do mini OSCE’s as part of my exams was very appealing, which O also think will be of great benefit for university.
- Where did you do your industry placements?
I completed all my industry placements at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead. The wards I worked on were Ward 25 (COTE), Ward 27 (Surgical), Ward 9 (Respiratory), Theatres, Ward 21 (Ortho Planned), and Ward 26 (Gynae Oncology).
- How did the T-Level course prepare you for employment?
I now work on Ward 22, and I think it was really helpful to do my T Level course. Whilst I still struggled with some aspects of care that I’d never done before, I felt prepared to go into the wards and work alongside healthcare assistants and nurses. It wasn’t just my placement that helped either, the entire course helped. I knew more about nutrition and hydration, personal care, and Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
- What were the highlights and/or challenges of your T-Level course?
I loved doing more practical aspects of the T Level course both in the classroom and on the wards on my industry placement. It was so interesting seeing how staff worked together and the different roles they did during the day. At first, I struggled with placement because it felt so new and I felt there was some things that I wasn’t able to do, such as BMs. But reflecting now, it was so important and helpful to do the personal care aspects of nursing. Washes, skin checks, and bed changes are so important and I’m so grateful that I was able to learn how to do these.
- Where are you now on your career journey/pathway?
I’m currently doing the Gateshead Apprenticeship into Nursing (GAiN) at the QE. I’ve been working as a healthcare assistant on a care of the elderly ward for the past 6 months and in March, I’ll be starting my Nursing Associate course which is the second stage of this apprenticeship. I chose this instead of university because I liked the idea of working in different job roles and slowly getting used to nursing.
- What are your top tips for anyone thinking of doing a T-Level course at school or college?
First of all, I think it’s important to understand that personal care is one of the basic fundamentals of nursing, so not to feel sad if you are only doing that at first. Right now, personal care is my favourite part of my job role. I also think it’s important to not be afraid to ask questions. During the first year of my T Level, I was terrified to ask questions and I felt that I didn’t learn a lot on placement because of this. In year 2 during my theatre placement, I started to get the courage to ask more questions and it was so interesting. I continued to ask questions on my other placements. Another tip is that you still have to work hard even if it’s mainly coursework-based because you do still have exams. Especially in the first year.