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Kirstie’s having a ball being a rehab apprentice at Southend Hospital

14 March 2016

Health Care

Kirstie Williams, 19, from Eastwood was always going to be a dancer. It was her passion and something she’d worked at for 15 years. One torn cartilage and an operation later and her career was shattered.

Thanks to an apprenticeship at Southend University Hospital though her career is dancing to a very different tune, that of a rehabilitation assistant apprentice.

Kirstie is now working with the stroke team as part of the year-long qualification, which sees her gaining a qualification and earning a wage as well. And in the current climate Kirstie really believes she has the best of both worlds.

She said: "I know it's hard to find a job, I've been there so for me I just think it is great to be able to be earning, learning and getting a qualification all at the same time. It's like doing it all under one roof.

"I'm really loving it. I may not be able to dance anymore but the care I got during my rehabilitation certainly influenced me to move in this new direction. I guess it's my way of giving something back. It's so rewarding when a patient goes home who couldn't walk when they arrived here and they walk back to thank you. That's so amazing."

Within her role, which she started back in January, Kirstie has been shadowing everyone in the department from occupational therapy staff to physios and speech and language therapists.

Kirstie may be helping change people's lives but this apprenticeship has already helped her change her life. She concluded:  "It's amazing being able to make a real difference, it is so rewarding and I really want to continue along this route."

This apprenticeship is offered at Southend University Hospital in partnership with Vocational Training Services, who are based in Westcliff-on-Sea and have been offering training for more than 20 years.