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Apprentice Career Stories

Alisha: Pre Registration Pharmacy Technician
Annie: 3rd Year Engineering Apprenticeship

Annie Kiloh is in the third year of her Engineering Apprenticeship working as part of the Medical Physics Team at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

The team consists of 110 highly trained technologists who work together to ensure the equipment is accurate, safe to use and reliable. Technologists not only look after equipment in hospitals but also in health centres and in patient’s homes. This includes the renal home dialysis service plus the adult and paediatric home ventilation services.

She loved fixing things as a youngster, and shows how that passion has grew into helping her find her dream job.

She said: “I have always loved fixing things; even when I was a wee girl. My dad has a joinery company and I was always following him around and picking things up. If there’s a piece of IKEA furniture to be assembled, I’m your girl!

Working in Medical Physics is so varied and I’m learning new things all the time. “In my lab there are three fully trained clinical engineers, so I’m always out with one of them learning how to fix a new piece of kit.

In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Annie and her team manage over 50,000 individual pieces of equipment, with items worth around £200 million in total.

The team consists of 110 highly trained technologists who work together to ensure the equipment is accurate, safe to use and reliable. Technologists not only look after equipment in hospitals but also in health centres and in patient’s homes. This includes the renal home dialysis service plus the adult and paediatric home ventilation services.

Annie goes on to explain that this encompasses over 600 types of equipment, which are all the more important amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “There are over 600 different types of medical equipment that the team look after. The most common type of equipment is a CPAP unit, which pumps air through a mask people wear at night.

“Due to the variety of equipment no two days are the same and I get a lot of satisfaction from my job, knowing we are a vital part of the hospital team.

Craig: Renal Technician

My Name is Craig Monteith and I am a Renal Technician and I was awarded Modern Apprentice of the Year in 2017.

I joined the NHS from school to undertake an Engineering Apprenticeship in Medical Physics specialising in Renal Dialysis.

My guidance teacher at school suggested this apprenticeship to me.  It seemed a really good opportunity and appealed to me far more than the other companies that also offer engineering apprenticeships. I liked the idea of helping people rather than working for the private sector.

In my current role I get to work across a range of Hospital sites including the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal Hospital for Children.

I enjoy having a vital role in the care of our patients. I also enjoy changing the major parts on equipment and seeing how components work.  I’m a problem solver so it’s really rewarding for me to get to the bottom of a difficult fault and getting a dialysis machine back in operation for our patient.

An Apprenticeship in the NHS is a really supportive environment. My apprenticeship equipped me with the necessary skills to begin my career in Renal from an early age. Having my foot in the door early has really helped me now as I have a broad understanding of Renal Dialysis. I changed which site I work at in order to get a promotion and this came with added responsibility and new challenges which have further helped my learning.

I see my future working in Renal Dialysis and I will be going for a Band 6 post in my department soon. Sometime in the future I am considering trying to work in Renal dialysis in other countries.

The NHS is a great company to work for and the modern apprenticeship scheme is a fantastic opportunity to get in early and accelerate your career path. 

Daniel: Multi Skilled Engineering Technician Apprentice

My name is Daniel Martin and I joined NHSGGC in 2012 as a Multi Skilled Engineering Technician Apprentice.

I am now an Estates Co-ordinating supervisor based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

I have always wanted to be a tradesman, I enjoyed being on the tools and completing hands on complex tasks. I initially started my apprenticeship as an electrician however the opportunity came up to train as a multi skilled technician. 

My apprenticeship allowed me to gain valuable knowledge on the systems at the QEUH and this was only furthered when I was time served. This has allowed me to go into supervising.

Before my apprenticeship I didn’t know how much I’d be able to undertake after completing the apprenticeship. The apprenticeship opened my eyes to a lot of new systems and policies to do with healthcare.

I really enjoy my job and every day is different.

My typical day as a supervisor is very busy dealing with multiple trades and issues throughout the day. I deal with multiple complex systems on a daily basis such as HVAC, medical gas pipeline systems, nurse call systems, fire alarm systems, domestic water systems, dual fuel systems and KNX/dali systems to name a few.

Our workload can be very varied, we can be dealing with leaks on the domestic water systems, heating issues, joinery work requests, electrical work and various plumbing tasks.

 I get great satisfaction from knowing that by doing my job I am making a difference in the hospital by completing upgrades and repairs. Knowing that the work we do as a department keeps the hospital running. Without the estates department the other departments wouldn’t be able to operate daily.

The NHS is a great place to work.  I have worked with the NHS  since I was 16 and I don’t see myself ever leaving. My plan is to progress further into estates management, hopefully becoming a estates manager in the next few years.

I really enjoy my job and every day is different. 

Elaine: Clerical Officer/Receptionist Maryhill Health Centre

My name is Elaine McCready and I am a Clerical Officer/Receptionist at Maryhill Health Centre. I was awarded Modern Apprentice of the year in 2018.

I started with the NHS as an Business and Administration Modern Apprentice and gained an SVQ2 in Business and Administration. Additionally, I also attended optional college classes (Medical Reception and Records, GP Medical Admin and IT in Business: Spreadsheets), and in doing so, gained three additional SQA qualifications.

I was interested in a career in Administration within the NHS but did not have previous administration experience. I liked the opportunity to both learn and work full-time. The apprenticeship scheme offered on-the-job experience which was invaluable but also allowed time to attend college to complete Business and Administration classes which was a great opportunity.

Following my apprenticeship, I was delighted to be offered a permanent position within my department. As I work on a busy reception desk, a big part of my job is interacting with patients and the public. In a health care environment, you get to know them and it is rewarding to be part of their patient journey. I love my job and I also have a fantastic and supportive team to work with which makes it so enjoyable.

My favourite part of my job is knowing you have helped someone on their patient journey to having the most positive experience that they can within the NHS. Often reception staff are the first person a patient will meet and I feel it is so important to get this stage correct. I strongly believe that everyone in the NHS has a role to play in patient care, no matter how big or small. To know you have helped someone to the best of your ability and made their patient journey as seamless as possible, gives me great job satisfaction.

It has been a privilege to have completed an apprenticeship and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and support given to me throughout. After completion of my Modern Apprenticeship, I have had the opportunity to continue to develop my skills and knowledge and I have since provided administrative cover for other sites which has gained me additional experience.

I have had the opportunity to learn-in-depth knowledge about different systems, services, legislation and processes as part of my apprenticeship. Through logging my learning, completing reports and attending college, I have gained a clear understanding of the different aspects of my role and what is expected of me. 

When I started my apprenticeship in 2017 I unaware of the apprenticeship programme and the opportunities offered through this scheme. I also did not realise apprenticeships were offered for such a wide variety of roles within the NHS. I understand now there is much greater awareness of the apprenticeship scheme through advertising and social media channels which will be beneficial to future candidates.

I would say to anyone considering an apprenticeships to go for it! It has offered an entry into the NHS and I’m looking forward to long and rewarding career working in administration within the NHS.

I had fantastic support from my assessor and colleagues throughout. The training provided by both the college and the NHS has greatly helped me in my learning and I can apply this in my current post and continue developing my skills and knowledge as I progress. I was welcomed by everyone within the team and I would strongly recommend an apprenticeship with the NHS to future candidates.

Ellis: AHP Assistant Practitoner

My name is Ellis Pollock and I joined the NHS in 2017 as an Apprentice Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Support Worker.

I am now an Allied Health Professions Assistant practitioner and based at the Lakefield Unit, Inverclyde Royal Hospital

On a typical day I will work with both the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Staff. Being based on the ward means that we spend a lot of time with other health professionals such as nurses/nursing support workers, Doctors, Social Workers, In-reach teams and many more. By working with the Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) we are able to set goals for patients and work as a team to help facilitate a safe discharge for our patients. Due to the current Pandemic we have been limited with social interaction between patients due to safety measures that have been in place.

I enjoy working with patients, listening to all their life stories and working within a team that is full of fun

When I applied for the PT/OT Support Worker apprenticeship I was only 16 and had an interest in working in the NHS. I didn’t want to go straight to University from school as I wasn’t fully committed to knowing what I wanted to do, and the last thing that I wanted to do was to get a degree and then not be interested. I had an interest in both Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy however didn’t realise how much both disciplines worked together. I thought that studying whilst working was the perfect opportunity for me to see if I enjoyed working in the healthcare setting.

I hope that in the future I will be able to complete my degree in either Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy. I am still indecisive about which route I want to go down as I love working between both disciplines and that’s what makes it a hard decision. Ideally I would love to be able to continue working within my current role and complete my degree at the same time.  Hopefully I can do that in the near future.

My apprenticeship has helped me in many ways, I have grown in confidence, met and worked with loads of different people and have gained a lot of experience over the last 4 and a half years. Hopefully having this experience will help me progress my career in the future. I wish that prior to starting my apprenticeship I appreciated how great the NHS actually is.

Having being only 16 at the time I can only imagine that I took the NHS for granted and didn’t understand how much time and effort staff put in to their jobs. I didn’t realise how many different jobs there were just to keep the NHS running at a high standard.

I found that completing my apprenticeship pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to progress in ways that I never thought I would. I was able to complete my course earlier than I was supposed to thanks to the support from my colleagues and college mentor. 

The advice that I would give to someone who was thinking of applying for one of these apprenticeships would be, go for it! Step out of your comfort zone, you have nothing to lose. With some hard graft and an open mind you can get anywhere that you want to be. You will be supported by not only your colleagues but your college mentors, everyone wants you to do well and it gives you the perfect opportunity of seeing whether you actually enjoy the job.

Megan: Administration Assistant in Pharmacy Services

My name is Megan Kinvig and I am an Administration Assistant in Pharmacy Services based at Clarkston Court. I started my apprenticeship when I was 17 having just left school.

My Business and Administration Apprenticeship was competed over 2 years and in that time I had the time to learn before actually being able to fully run with something. This time to learn has given me invaluable skills to see how people communicate, and simply how to work in a business environment as it is totally different from school. 

In school I was encouraged to consider going to university but my guidance teacher also told me in detail about Modern Apprenticeships. This was the perfect fit for me as I wanted to get a job, get money and to be independent.

From my first day I was learning, working and getting paid and I am now years ahead of people I went to school with. It has been the best choice I have made. It gave me financial independence, a qualification and a kick-start at working life.

The department I support is a busy one and I am responsible for carrying out a range administrative tasks to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This can range from managing email traffic, processing payroll information, data entry, creating agendas and taking minutes at meetings and making sure that Education and Training mailbox is kept up to date.

The Pharmacy Services team at Clarkston is a very supportive workplace. Every 2 weeks we have a team training sessions where one of us will share their knowledge or skill to take on a new task with the other team members. This means all the team have the opportunity to learn and ask questions. We also have a weekly catch up with colleagues outside work which give us the opportunity to chat outwith the office environment.

I think, that if you have a good team around you, your job is not a ‘chore’. I enjoy going to my work and one of the main reasons for that, is the people around me when I am there. 

In my first year of being an apprentice, I was awarded the runner up award for MA of the Year. I was put forward by my manager and getting the award really boosted my confidence, it made me feel I was doing not only my team proud, but that the NHS are proud of their apprentices, and that makes you feel valued.

An apprenticeship does prepare yourself for moving into adult life. Even though you are still an apprentice, you are treated like an adult. I certainly did not prepare myself for this part and I got a huge shock when I started! But I have the most supportive manager and colleagues around me who help me every day as I do them.

I was not the most organised person when I started my apprenticeship. This is because I had never been in a working environment whereby I had to plan meetings for other people, I had to print things for myself and had to plan a whole meeting. My apprenticeship taught me how to use my initiative, something I use every day now, in work and personal life. 

I hope to build my way up steadily and become a manager, so as one day, I can potentially take on a Modern Apprentice, and give them the experience and excellent start to working life that I had.

Megan: Business Management Graduate Apprentice

Megan is an administrator, working in pharmacy services. She started her career in the NHS by doing a Modern Apprenticeship. Megan is now doing a Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management.

“What I like most about my job is that I’m encouraged to use my own initiative and work towards my own goals. I also get opportunity to develop my skills, whether that be communication, organisation or teamwork.”

Melissa: Management Accountant in Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership

My name is Melissa Beckett and I am a Management Accountant in Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership. I was Modern Apprentice of the year in 2019.

In my current role as a Management Accountant I oversee the finances for number of services including Clinical Directorates, Health improvement Teams and Older peoples services. My role is to assist the Budget Managers to understand their finances and to make sure they can run their service effectively and within budget.

My job presents different challenges every day and no two days are the same. I do a lot of problem solving in my job and get real satisfaction in providing solutions.

A big part of my role is producing costings, helping services understand their budgets and producing savings while ensuring that any savings made don’t have a negative effect on the service.

When I applied for the Apprenticeship programme I had a HND and was working in Finance but I was looking for a role where I could progress in and a family friend suggested applying for an Apprenticeship.   

Although studying for the Association of Accounting Technician qualification as part of the apprenticeship was a benefit, what I really wanted was to work somewhere where I could develop myself professionally.

I liked the idea of being able to learn on the job and to also be able work and study for my qualification. In the NHS because it’s such a large organisation, there are lots of opportunities to move about and get a wide range of experience.

Once I completed my training I was appointed into a Management Accounts Assistant role in the Acute Sector and was then promoted into a role with more responsibility. In 2020 I was promoted into the role of Management Accountant.

I’m glad I chose the Apprenticeship Pathway. Getting the experience and the qualifications through the MA programme have really helped my career. The best part of my Apprenticeship was learning on the job – I’ve developed skills and knowledge that I would never have learned through study alone. Equally it’s been really good to be able to put what you learn academically into practice in the workplace.

I’m continuing my study and am working towards achieving my Chartered Institute of Management Accountants qualifications and longer term want to continue my career pathway into more senior roles in NHS.

Peter: Multiskilled Skilled Engineering Technician
Peter- Joined NHSGGC as a school leaver and awarded Modern Apprentice of the year in 2020

My name is Peter McKay and I knew that I wanted to do an engineering apprenticeship when I was in my last year of school. I spoke to a careers adviser and did my own research online. That’s how I found out about apprenticeship opportunities in the NHS. I also went to an open evening at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to find out more. From there, I decided to apply.

I was really happy when I was offered an interview. It was the Modern Apprenticeship that I wanted to do. I knew I was going to have the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills.

In 2020, I was lucky enough to win the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Unison and Unite Modern Apprentice of the Year award. I was delighted to even be nominated for the award, so winning it was amazing. I was so pleased for my team too.

When I started my apprenticeship I didn’t know how big a role the estates department played in keeping the hospital running but I quickly realised it is one of the most important departments in the hospital. We make sure that wards, theatres and other areas are well maintained so patients can be cared for.

I also thought that the job would be limited to working in plant rooms, maintaining the equipment needed to supply building services. These services include heating, water and electrical distribution.

While I do work in plant rooms, my job is also about making sure patients’ needs are met. They’re the number one priority. A lot of the time, I’m carrying out maintenance jobs in patients’ rooms, such as making sure the temperature is just right, or repairing an electrical socket.

On the hospital wards, staff are caring for patients. I need to communicate with staff and patients to make sure the job I’m there to do causes the least disruption possible.

As a multi-skilled technician, I’m working across 3 trades, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and plumbing.

I enjoy coming in to work every day. Working in a maintenance team, I’ve made great friendships with colleagues and that makes every day enjoyable.

As I can be working in different parts of the hospital, it makes the job challenging and interesting. I’m kept busy and no two days are the same.

Starting my Modern Apprenticeship directly after leaving school was challenging. Having a full-time job and working and learning with skilled people and tradesmen is not the same as being taught at school. You learn a lot when you’re on your feet working.

Working across 3 trades was overwhelming at first, but it I’ve realised it is a benefit, as I’m developing a wide set of skills.

From my own experience, I couldn’t recommend doing an apprentice enough. It’s helped me mature as a person, and in my role. If you’re thinking about doing a Modern Apprenticeship in the NHS, I’d encourage you to apply.

With this Modern Apprenticeship, you’re offered a varied skill set across 3 different trades. I don’t think you’d get that with many other apprenticeships.

I hope to continue my education and do a degree in Building Services at university. It’s the next step on from completing an HNC in Engineering Systems, which I completed during my apprenticeship.

Becoming an estates manager is not something I thought would be possible when I left school and started my apprenticeship. But now I’m more confident and believe I can do it.

Modern Apprentice of the Year Award

Recognition of Service Support

The high standard of talent and achievement in our young apprentices is recognised each year at the Unison/Unite NHSGGC Modern Apprentice of the Year.

Modern Apprentice of the year 2021

Modern Apprentice of the Year 2021 Winner – John Hetherton

Wully Brodie Engineering Apprentice of the Year 2021 Winner – Abbie Jamieson

Modern Apprentice of the year 2020

Modern Apprentice of the Year 2020 Winner – Peter McKay

Peter- Joined NHSGGC as a school leaver and awarded Modern Apprentice of the year in 2020