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Apprenticeships at Southend Hospital

14 March 2016

Health Care

National Apprenticeship Week takes place from the 14-18 March and Southend University Hospital is delivering a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities in partnership with local training provider, Vocational Training Services.

Eileen Gallagher is the hospital's talent for care coordinator, which is part of a national plan to help bolster the healthcare support workforce by developing those working across bands 1- 4 through apprenticeships.

She said: "The trust has 36 staff engaged on a variety of apprenticeships at intermediate, advanced and higher levels. The programmes include business administration, adult health & social care, clinical healthcare support, perioperative support and children and young people workforce. There are over 200 apprenticeship frameworks available, many of which would be suitable for clinical and non-clinical areas."

And this number is only set to expand under Government directives but it is already something the trust is embracing with a positive impact on the hospital and those undertaking apprenticeships.

The hospital's apprenticeships are delivered through Vocational Training Services (VTS), who are based in Westcliff. Gail Cooksey, its managing director said: "The hospital is happy to both upskill existing staff where appropriate and recruit brand new apprentices, which can be an effective launchpad for an NHS career. It's our job to support the learners and help them achieve."

When Jacob Edgington tells people he works in a nursery many assume that he works as a gardener, instead he's busy growing minds in the Ladybird Nursery, based at the hospital, as part of his children and young people's workforce apprenticeship.

Jacob, 21, from Southend, said: "It's a bit of a surprise to some people initially but then they get to see how good I am with the kids. The children really love the beard and give it a tug now and then.

"I love it here and wouldn't change a thing, I'm just really proud that I've got this opportunity to make a really positive impact on these children's lives."

That is loudly echoed by Lynda Bartholomew, manager of Ladybird Nursery: "Our staff and children benefit from his energy and enthusiasm, and from having a male role model in a sector which traditionally has a mainly female workforce."

Jacob came to the trust for his apprenticeship but one person who already works here but is advancing his career thanks to his Level 3 apprenticeship in health and social care in 46-year old healthcare assistant Bryan Record. 

Bryan said: "Apprenticeships aren't just for young people and if I'd not got this opportunity through my current hospital role I would not have gone on further, I would have just stayed doing what I was doing, it's as simple as that.

"It's great to know that the hospital is investing in both your future as an employee and that of the hospital."

Conor Hall, 18, from Rayleigh found his apprenticeship role in the finance department by looking at the NHS jobs website. He said: "I could have gone to college or got a job; this is in the middle and is the best of both worlds as I'm earning and learning at the same time.

"I've only been here since December but really feel part of the team, I've really grown in confidence and am doing everything from financial accounts to bank statements. It feels like an 18 month practical rather than just a work placement or learning from a book.

Abbey Haynes [4], like Conor, is also based at Britannia House, she's doing an intermediate business and administration apprenticeship.

The 16 year old from Rochford applied for over 100 apprenticeships, but her determination paid off last November when she began her apprenticeship in the learning and development team.

She said: "I wanted to do an apprenticeship because of the money, I could earn and learn at the same time. I've definitely grown in confidence, when I first started I was so scared. I think that was just the shock of the new."

After she completes the Level 2 apprenticeship, which is equivalents to GCSE level, Abbey is keen to complete her level 3 qualification, equivalent to A-levels, after having got her first foot on the apprenticeship ladder.

If you are interested in finding out more about apprenticeship opportunities at Southend University Hospital please email Eileen at apprenticeships@southend.nhs.uk .

ENDS

Image: l-r Eileen Gallagher - Southend Hospital's talent for care coordinator, Derrick Stott - business development manager at VTS and Gail Cooksey - managing director at VTS