Two former apprentices are celebrating the first eight years of their rewarding careers with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.
Molly Johnson and Chris Naylor were recruited in March 2015 in a small apprentice cohort, as part of plans to grow a new NHS workforce for the future.
Molly and Chris are looking back as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2023.
Before being hired as an apprentice at Royal Bolton Hospital, 18-year-old Chris had spent many months applying for dozens of jobs after leaving school.
At the time Chris spoke of having become “disheartened” and “losing confidence” but was “looking to nothing but the future” in his new NHS career as an administrative assistant.
Fast-forward eight years, and Chris, now aged 26, has gone from arranging meetings to working his way up to become a Project Manager at the Trust.
Chris is now a huge champion of the doors apprenticeships open for a long and fulfilling career:
My apprenticeship was always a fantastic foundation for me to build a career on.
“I was very lucky to have a positive manager and team who allowed me to not only challenge but prove myself.
“It’s always been a positive trait of mine to never settle, and always strive for more. An apprenticeship is a very humbling experience as you work your way up, but with support and the drive to succeed it can be the perfect platform to build a great career.
“I’m very proud of the fact I started as an apprentice admin assistant at 18, and now at 26 I am a full-time project manager.
“I would say it comes from a constant strive success, but a grounding to always remember where I started.
Pictured: Molly and Chris in 2015 after being hired as apprentices
Molly Cooper left college in 2014 aged 21 without the qualifications she had planned on. She was recruited as apprentice officer administrator in the headquarter of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to carry out a range of duties whilst she studied.
She said at the time: “I love working here at the hospital. There’s always plenty to do and I’ve been made very welcome by all the members of staff I work with. I don’t get the Sunday night blues anymore and I look forward to coming into work and seeing what is waiting for me.”
Now in 2023, Molly is Personal Assistant to Medical Director, Dr Francis Andrews.
I started at Bolton NHS FT as an apprentice in 2014, completing my Business Administration Level 3 within the Management Secretariat office.
“My duties included managing diaries, taking minutes of smaller meetings and dealing with the incoming and outgoing post. More than 8 years later and I am still in the Management Secretariat office, but I am now working as a Band 5 PA for the Medical Director which is due to the wonderful support I received and the opportunity to continue to grow from an Admin Assistant to a Band 2, Band 4 and where I am now.
In my time here, I have worked alongside the Executives during CQC inspections, VIP visits and of course the COVID-19 pandemic. It has made me realise just how much the Trust do to prioritise the wellbeing and development of staff whilst ensuring patient safety is at the forefront of every decision.
“I would encourage anyone of any age to take up an apprenticeship if they are thinking about it because it has shown me that I am capable of achieving the things I want to do in my career.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust continues to champion the benefits and rewards of apprenticeships for both learners and employers.
James Mawrey, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief People Officer, said:
Molly and Chris are a shining example of how instrumental apprenticeships are in opening doors for people and in unlocking new skills and experiences to take staff on a happy and rewarding career path here at Bolton.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all of our apprentices, they’re an invaluable part of our family who contribute so much to the work of their colleagues and the lives of patients.
More people than ever before are now starting courses with more than 140 members of staff taking part, choosing from nearly 70 courses ranging from Level 2 (GCSE) to Level 7 (Degree).
All this week the Trust has been celebrating National Apprenticeship Week and hearing from staff who are shining a spotlight on how it’s enhanced their careers.