This week it is national apprenticeship week which celebrates the value, benefit, and opportunity that apprenticeships bring.
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and QE Facilities currently support 153 staff on apprenticeship programmes. There are around 36 different types of apprenticeship programmes taking place and with 24 staff successfully completing their apprenticeships in 2022.
Danielle Alderson and her daughter Lilly Alderson are both completing apprenticeships at Gateshead Health NHS. Danielle is doing a level 5 nursing associate apprenticeship which is due to finish in October 2023. Lilly is completing a level 3 business administration apprenticeship which is due to finish is April 2024.
We asked them both about their apprenticeships, what they enjoy and their career aspirations when they complete their programmes.
What attracted you both work for the NHS and Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust?
Danielle said, “I always wanted to work for the NHS. I always dreamed of being a nurse, so I started my career in the NHS in 2011 as a trainee HCA at the Freeman where I completed an NVQ level 3 in health and social care and worked on a surgical ward which I loved.
“I started for Gateshead Health Foundation Trust in 2013 after seeing a progression post working in the Urgent Treatment Centre where I was given the opportunity to do lots of additional training to build up my nursing skills and work in acute setting.
“I have looked into doing my nursing degree so many times, but with children at home I couldn’t afford to leave a safe job to go to university and live on student loans. So I was patient and waited for an apprenticeship or secondment to come up in the trust and I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
Lilly said, “I always wanted to work in the NHS as it is one of the largest organisations in the UK. I was attracted to work at Gateshead Health Foundation Trust because of all the progression opportunities it has.”
What ward/departments do you both work in?
Danielle said, “My base ward whilst I complete my degree is Ward 21, elective orthopaedics and I absolutely love it! I go on placements in different areas every couple of months to learn new nursing skills and get my proficiencies signed off. I go to Teesside university once a week too.”
Lilly said, “I work as a business admin apprentice with the learning and development team which is based at the QE Hospital.”
What attracted you both to do an apprenticeship?
Danielle said, “I think apprenticeships are the way forward, especially for the retention of staff and to allow people to upskill and progress in their jobs. Being paid a salary and having course fees paid has enabled me to follow my dreams and stay within Gateshead Health Foundation Trust, retaining my NHS years of service.”
Lilly said, “I could have gone to sixth form and studied further business studies, but I really wanted to get an apprenticeship where I could gain hands-on experience on the job, whilst studying at college and gaining the same qualification.”
What do you enjoy about doing your apprenticeships?
Danielle said, “I love having the opportunity to learn new skills, being part of a team and having the opportunity to experience different wards and departments.”
Lilly said, “I love that every day is different and that every day is a learning day!”
What are you career aspirations on completing your apprenticeship?
Danielle said, “I hope to stay in the surgical directorate, and I hope to keep getting opportunities to do more courses as I love to learn.”
Lilly said, “I would love to eventually go on to do a degree apprenticeship, to continue my learning and progress in my career.”
How do you feel about both of you doing an apprenticeship at the same time?
Danielle said, “I think it’s great! I am extremely proud of Lilly for opting for the apprenticeship route as for her she gets the best of both worlds. She gets to get real-life experiences in a working environment, and she is doing a business administration course at college.”
Lilly said, “I am really proud of my Mam for getting back into further education after many years and following her dreams! I really hope she considers applying for registered nurse apprenticeship top-up after she qualifies as nursing associate.”
Good luck to both Danielle and Lilly on the remainder of their apprenticeships.
For more information on apprenticeships at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, get in touch with the learning and development team at [email protected]