Hello, my name is Rhian Webb and I joined NELFT on 5 January 2016, when I started the Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Admin with the Medical Education team. When I first joined NELFT, I had just turned 19 and had just finished my last year of Sixth Form and completed my A Levels. Even after completing my A Levels at sixth form, I still didn’t really know what career path I wanted to take - but NELFT provided me with the first step to that ladder. I have since completed my apprenticeship at NELFT in April 2017 and have now moved up a role in my team to become a ‘Medical Education Co-ordinator’ in just 16 months of working in NELFT as an apprentice.
Why did you decide to take up an apprenticeship?
Initially, I didn’t want to even consider completing an apprenticeship after I finished Sixth Form. Like most people at 18/19 years old, I thought apprenticeships were very poorly paid and not worth it, as I assumed I would just basically be a ‘tea girl’. I couldn’t have been more wrong! My mum sent me through the advert for the NELFT apprenticeship and after having a read of it I was quite surprised, although the pay isn’t like winning the lottery it was a lot higher than I ever expected it would be! After I also read what the apprenticeship and job role would involve, I was also pleasantly surprised as there was so much stuff I would be responsible for and be able to learn! So I took a leap of faith and applied for the role.
What was the attraction of joining NELFT?
When I first saw the job advert, the main thing that attracted me was the fact that the job was in the NHS - although I had never actually heard of North East London Foundation Trust itself. I always felt that working in the NHS was just for nurses, doctors or receptionist - but I was pleasantly surprised to read that there was so much more going on that that. I think the NHS is typically known as being a really great opportunity for anyone to work in and I definitely feel proud working in the NHS as you know you are always helping someone in everything that you do.
What was your role?
My role as the Medical Education Course Co-Ordinator Apprentice involved a lot of very exciting, challenging and interesting roles and responsibilities. Firstly, I was responsible for running and organising both the Consultants and Middle Grade doctors’ monthly CPD teaching afternoons. This involved everything from booking the venue for the afternoon to finding a speaker to present and also being there on the day to set up the IT equipment and room with handouts etc. My role also included running a number of additional courses as well for staff in NELFT and other trusts, including Quality Improvement Programmes, GP Masterclasses, Section 12 and Approved Clinical courses for doctors and the NELFT Arts Day. My role also included organising and running approximately five big conferences a year alongside my manager who is the ‘Training Event Manager’ for Medical Education. All of this whilst also completing an Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Admin.
What skills has the apprenticeship enabled you to develop?
My apprenticeship helped me develop my intellectual and social skills a huge amount. I never imagined that I could learn so much and be so confident presenting in front of and talking to strangers! My apprenticeship helped me to understand the world of business and how businesses work and what makes them not work. It also helped and guided me on how to become a professional and respectable staff member in NELFT.
When you finished your apprenticeship – how easy did you find it to move into a permanent position?
I had applied for a higher role in my team even before I had even actually finished my apprenticeship. I was nearing the end of my apprenticeship and I knew when exactly I would be signing it off when a higher role in the team became available. I applied for the role (with my manager’s support) with no actual hope that I would get it but to my surprise I did! This then meant that as soon as I signed off my apprenticeship I was able to jump straight into my new role as a band 4 ‘Co-Ordinator’ for Medical Education.
What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship in NELFT/NHS?
DO IT! I cannot express enough how relieved I am that I took that leap of faith and went against everything I believed about apprenticeships and applied for an apprenticeship in NELFT. I’m still here two years later and have moved on to bigger and better things and anyone else can do the same. NELFT has endless amounts of opportunities for you to grow and learn in the trust, the learning is never ending. I was so lucky to be given the opportunity to complete such an amazing apprenticeship in such a great trust and with an absolutely amazing team, so don’t even think about it – take that leap and apply for an apprenticeship in NELFT!
Thanks to Rhian for her time and kind words. For more information about apprenticeships at NELFT, visit the website at: www.nelft.nhs.uk/nelft-apprenticeships