Apprentices at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust are sharing their stories of success during National Apprenticeship Week 2024.
The Trust currently has more than 180 employees taking part in dozens of different apprenticeship qualifications, including Trainee Nursing Associate and Pharmacy Technician, and which range from Level 2 (GCSE) to Level 7 (Degree).
National Apprenticeship Week celebrates the value of apprentices for organisations and the skills and knowledge they offer people on their career journey.
Nicola Caffrey, Corporate Business Manager at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, recently achieved a first class honours in Business Management: Health and Social Care.
Through the apprenticeship, Nicola has been able to make new connections with colleagues to work on a key project that is shaping national policy.
I have met some of the most talented and patient-focused colleagues I have ever had the privilege of working with.
“Through the connections that have been made through the apprenticeship I have been able to work with Claire Bailey, a Ward Manager on G3 on an improvement collaborative with NHS England. This work is influencing national policy, which is something neither of us would have been able to consider prior to this apprenticeship and we can see that the connection we have made is really improving patient care and experience.
“I feel an enormous sense of pride in completing the degree and I would encourage anyone to consider looking at undertaking an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships at the Trust have also equipped staff with the skills, knowledge and qualifications they need to apply for promotions and climb the career ladder, including Pharmacy Technician, Andrew Cooper-Smith.
I was continually motivated because I felt highly supported throughout my two-year student role and I successfully became a qualified Accuracy Checking Technician in September 2023.
“I was looking forward to hopefully making a positive difference by accurately documenting patient’s medicines pre-admission, assisting with medicines optimisation to increase medicine safety along with my colleagues and accuracy checking dispensed medication in the pharmacy department.
“I am thrilled that I successfully got the progression role, without the need to study further and that now I have been able to obtain a higher position much sooner.
“Definitely go for it if you are thinking about doing an apprenticeship, because the support is there and the opportunities when you qualify are worth it. You feel empowered to do your job and really feel like you are making a positive difference within the Trust.
Young people in Bolton are also stepping into a career in health through the T Level programme, which offer school-leavers the opportunity to learn in the classroom and gain meaningful industry experience.
Ellie Edwards is now taking part in the Trainee Nursing Associate apprenticeship, after completing a Health T Level course with Bolton College last year.
I was interested in a T Level as it included a more practical approach to learning, including an industry placement with the Trust, and the way the course is assessed includes practical and clinical skills as well as the theory such as anatomy and physiology and holistic care.
“I believe that when you are passionate to work within a certain sector such as health care doing a T Level is the best option as it provides experience that you cannot get at that age in that depth.
“My experience so far as a Trainee Nurse Associate (TNA) has been nothing but positive, I love my job and I am so excited to learn more skills and knowledge. In my opinion, there is no better way to learn as you are constantly putting the knowledge you learn in university directly into practice.
“My highlights have been feedback from patients such as cards or verbal appreciation. It really is the fuel to keep going and be the best for every patient to make their experience any better.
This year’s theme is ‘Skills For Life’, which encourages everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help people at any age and at any stage in their career to develop their skills for a rewarding career.
Donna Yates, Staff Wellness Practitioner, is about to celebrate her 24th year at the Trust, after starting as a young apprentice in 2000.
I’ve been able to earn while I learn, and I have continued learning throughout my time here which has taken me to the next level in my career.
“I was able to apply for roles using my knowledge and experience, as well as the qualifications I’ve gained to match those job roles too.
“I have been given many opportunities at Bolton and therefore I have wanted to give the time and loyalty back to the trust, with most recently obtaining my foundation degree.
“Becoming an apprentice is never too early or too late in your life and your dream career is maybe an apprenticeship away.
Tyrone Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer at the Trust, said:
Whether people are new to healthcare or looking to progress their career, we’ve seen first-hand how apprenticeships empower people to gain hands-on experience, expand their knowledge and build their career.
“Investing in our people at every stage in their career allows us to develop a workforce that’s full of diverse skills.
The Trust has been shining a spotlight on apprentices all week on its social media channels: