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Mother and daughter completing apprenticeships at Gateshead Health

Lilly and Danielle Alderson

This week is national apprenticeship week, which celebrates the value, benefit, and opportunity that apprenticeships bring.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and QE Facilities currently support 187 staff on apprenticeship programmes. There are around 41 different types of apprenticeship programmes taking place, with 50 staff successfully completing their apprenticeships in 2023.

Last year we spoke to Danielle Alderson and her daughter Lilly Alderson who were both completing apprenticeships at Gateshead Health. Danielle completed a level 5 nursing associate apprenticeship in October 2023. Lilly is completing a level three business administration apprenticeship, which is due to finish in April 2024.

They gave an update on their journey:

What made you choose an apprenticeship?

Lilly: I am on my way to completing a Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship facilitated by Derwentside College. I chose an apprenticeship at Gateshead Health to gain ‘hands-on’ practical experience and to have the ability to learn from experienced colleagues in the workplace to provide the required knowledge and skills to succeed in my role.  

Danielle: I chose the apprenticeship route to enhance my nursing career, as I had already worked as a Nursing Assistant for many years in this trust, as well as Newcastle. I chose the Nursing Associate foundation degree apprenticeship as it allowed me to stay within Gateshead Health and keep my NHS service, as well as being paid a salary whilst studying.

Tell us a little bit about your job roles

Lilly: I work with the Learning and Development team in the Education Centre. I support staff with all of their training requirements and any queries they may have. Currently, I administrate the trusts Managing Well Programme and support the Learning and Development Facilitators with any tasks they require help with. Another part of my role is to support the Widening Participation programmes, which involve Work Experience, Choices College, and T-level students. I help with the inductions making a conscious effort to make everyone involved feel welcome to our trust and seeing to any reasonable adjustments or plans needed for their placement. During my apprenticeship, I have had so many opportunities to build many professional networks internally and with external organisations.

Danielle: I qualified as a registered Nursing Associate in September and was interviewed and offered my first post-registration job in the surgical directorate in elective orthopaedics. On a typical day at work, I work as part of a fantastic team of nurses, nursing assistants, physios, admin, doctors and many more, taking care of patients who have had orthopaedic surgery. I administer medication, undertake wound and drain care, escalate my concerns to the nurse practitioner or doctor on call, and liaise with outside agencies within our community to make sure the patients are safe go home following surgery, as well as much more.

What have been the highlights and challenges in the past year?

Lilly: Overall, the past year has been very positive! Both professionally and personally, my confidence has gone strength to strength, as I have had so many opportunities in my workplace for personal development. Although I have only been working in Gateshead Health for over a year, I have already gained so much knowledge and various skills that can be utilised in all aspects of my life, as well as moving from band 2 to 3.

Danielle: The challenges of the last year have been managing to juggle work and family life with completing my university course, but the highlight was gaining a distinction, so all the hard work eventually paid off! 

Life outside work (hobbies etc)

Lilly: Outside of work, I like going to the theatre, as I love musicals – especially Mamma Mia!  I like spending lots of time with my dog Hugo, taking him for walks down the beach, and taking him out for his Sunday lunch.

Danielle: Outside of work, I love spending time with Lilly, her little Sister Ruby, my Husband Matty, as well as our family dog Hugo and Bingus the kitten. I love going on holiday and visiting different countries and making memories.

What are your future career plans or goals?

Lilly: Overall, I plan to stay within the NHS long-term to develop my career. I am passionate about equal opportunities and have recently started a new course “Level 2 – Understanding Autism” to equip me with further skills and knowledge to support me in providing the best level of understanding to some of the Choices College students I support as part of my role.

 Danielle: My future career plan is to apply to go back to university in September to study as an apprentice again. I would love to stay at Gateshead Health, I have been here for 11 years now, and couldn’t see myself anywhere else at the minute!

Top tips for others considering an apprenticeship.

Lilly: If you’re considering applying for an apprenticeship you must do your research to make sure it is the right apprenticeship for you. There are apprenticeship networks that can give you advice and top tips for being successful. 

Danielle: If you are thinking about it, get all the info you need to decide from learning and development! We are lucky at Gateshead Health to have so many opportunities in different fields of expertise. I feel very grateful to have been able to do the apprenticeship route into nursing as I am a very hands-on learner and this enabled me to learn most of my skills on the job, as well as incorporating academic work into it too.

Good luck to both Danielle and Lilly on the remainder of their apprenticeships and future career at Gateshead Health.

For more information on apprenticeships at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, get in touch with the learning and development team at [email protected]