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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

Read the latest NELFT news, including information on our services, new trust staff, research and development of our services.

From GCSE's to Apprenticeships - A blog by Sofiya Khan-Ringshaw

Image of Sofiya Khan-Ringshaw with the text 'From GCSE's to Apprenticeships - A blog by Sofiya Khan-RIngshaw #RoutesIntoNELFT

Tell us about your journey to NELFT following your GCSE’s

I joined NELFT nearly 2 years ago in the summer of my GCSE completion. I had heard about NELFT apprenticeships two years prior to this, and in the back of my mind I always knew I wanted to go down the apprenticeship route.

I have been working from the age of 14. My first role was a waitress in a café but on the side, I volunteered at my local youth centre, helping underprivileged kids play badminton. After experiencing a working environment, I just knew that I thoroughly enjoyed working. I had liked school but felt as if it was holding me back from a greater potential I could achieve not being in that environment.

When I found out NELFT was offering a finance apprenticeship I was overjoyed, as finance was the route I wanted to go down on and new it was a sign, so I applied and as luck would have it, I managed to secure my place in the finance team.

What made you consider a career in the NHS?

In all honesty, I never saw myself working for an NHS Trust, but I have found it very rewarding and would definitely recommend doing so. Prior to working here, when I thought of the NHS, I thought of Doctors and Nurses and not about the staff who are behind the scenes helping all aspects run as smoothly as possible.

Working as a corporate member of staff I have gained a great appreciation for the admin staff that work in all NHS trusts because they work just as hard as the doctors and nurses as the planning, the time, and the effort we all put in helps support our frontline worker so they can give our patients top quality care.

What advice would you give to school leavers, who have just received their GCSE results?

The conventional route is not always the route you are meant to take. Regardless of what your peers or friends or teachers may say, follow your heart and think about how this decision could affect you in the long run. Don’t base your big life decisions on short term opinions, because these opinions come from a place of fear and insecurity that you may end up surpassing them, therefore the playing field of success is no longer even. Remember the phrase is love your neighbour, its not be your neighbour.

University, sixth form and college all offer amazing experiences, but this does not mean you won’t have some of these experiences going down the apprenticeship route. Some of the world’s greatest minds left school before the age of 18, some notably being Charles Dickens, Thomas Edison and even Einstein himself. One of the most important lessons I have learnt being an apprentice is to lead with integrity, and then and only then will you succeed.

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