Alice Cleaver opens up about her apprenticeship at NELFT
Hello my name is Alice. I’ve been an apprentice here at NELFT since September 2017 after finishing my BA in Creative Writing. I work as a Library Assistant at Aubrey Keep Library in Goodmayes.
Why did you decide to take up an apprenticeship?
I really enjoy studying, and as I had just finished uni I was still in the swing of doing coursework and written work. An apprenticeship gave me the chance to continue doing this whilst gaining experience in an area I’m interested in. I was also attracted to the idea of gaining another qualification whilst working.
What was the attraction of joining NELFT?
Both my parents worked in the NHS for most of their lives, so it was comfortable for me to apply for a job at NELFT since I’ve already heard so much about the healthcare service. The fact that it was a role in a library was great for me as well, as I have always loved reading and writing. I had no idea that hospitals had libraries, and the more I learned about it the more it seemed like it would be a good fit.
What was your role(s) during your apprenticeship with NELFT?
I assist with the day-to-day duties of the library. Issuing books, supplying journal articles, as well as answering any queries our users might have in person or via phone or email. My apprenticeship also allows me to spend the occasional day in other departments such as Medical Education, Training and Development, and even other NHS libraries in other hospitals. Not only has this been fun, it was also really beneficial for me to see the ins and outs of the trust first hand as it helped my understanding of my own role.
What skills has the apprenticeship enabled you to develop?
Firstly, I’ve gained a huge amount of confidence since I started my apprenticeship. Being on the phone and talking to people all day has even impacted my life outside work. Making important phone calls isn’t such a daunting task since anymore, since I do it so much in the library!
Working as part of such a great team has also taught me a lot about the importance of effective communication and team work. We are quite tight knit here at the library; I believe that we function really well.
I’ve had the opportunity to provide training, starting with a bullet journaling workshop at Arts Day along with my colleague and our clinical librarian, Lisa. This developed into a session that we did for other NHS library colleagues, as well as 1-2-1 sessions! This was a step outside my comfort zone which I think was really beneficial, and I still had lots of support, which really helped.
What are your plans for the future once you have completed your apprenticeship?
The more I research, the more I’d like to do a master’s degree in librarianship. Once I’ve done that, there will be so many more positions in libraries or even museums that I would be qualified for.
What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship in NELFT/NHS?
I say go for it. Since I’ve been here I’ve had so many opportunities that are great for my own development as well as my CV. NELFT really look after their employees, I’m grateful for all the support available for staff wellbeing etc, as well as how easy it is for everyone to have their say no matter their position.
I think that I’m really lucky to have started my career with the library team, since I’ve been here they’ve been so supportive and always approachable and friendly. I’ve learnt so much, and I’ve gained insight into a career path I had no idea about.