Case studies

Harriet Potter

Harriet’s story

Business admin apprentice

When I left school I went to college to do A level health and social care. In my second year of my course I did some work experience in A&E and it was then that I realised that I did not want to work in care as I felt I could not cope with the environment. I finished my A levels and as I was unclear about what I wanted to do in my career I undertook a number of different types of job roles but primarily worked in a local pub as a cook.

I discovered the apprenticeship scheme by researching “learning whilst working.” I discovered apprenticeships were being advertised through the NHS Jobs website. My application was successful and I secured a temporary position with the Widening Participation & Learning Team at the trust where I completed my level 2 intermediate apprenticeship.

I thoroughly enjoyed my level 2 apprenticeship and before this came to an end I was offered an extension to my contract and by taking on some additional responsibilities I was able to begin my level 3 advanced apprenticeship.

There are many skills which I have developed during my apprenticeship that will help me with my career and my personal life and I have gained a lot of confidence.

The apprenticeship scheme has opened all sorts of gateways up for me into different careers and has taught me to put more faith into myself.

There are many highlights of undertaking this course, some of them include:

  • Gaining good well recognised qualifications
  • Meeting new people during training days as well as work
  • Earning money as well as learning
  • Opening many opportunities for me to further my career

I think the apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity for people who learn practically and is a massive opportunity for people to develop and progress their careers.


Kathryn’s story

Clinical health care support apprenticeKathryn Dixon

After leaving school I began an Intermediate apprenticeship in childcare and trained as a nursery nurse. I continued working as a nursery nurse for almost six years and although I enjoyed working with children I recognised there wasn’t any opportunity for any further career development. I decided it was time to think about alternative career options. I was keen to maintain some of my caring responsibilities and thought about a career as a health care worker. However, to ensure I was making the right career choice I undertook a period of voluntary work in a nursing home to develop my understanding of the job role and commitment requirements; as I only worked part time in a nursery this enabled me to do this.

I found out about the apprenticeship from a friend who had applied for the course. I then attended an information event at the hospital to get more of an understanding about what I would be committing to.

Before coming onto the health care apprenticeship I had not appreciated how many of my childcare competencies, knowledge and skills could be transferred into my role as a health care assistant. I also did not realise how valued I would be in the workplace and I have now developed a range of clinical and communication skills.

I have secured full-time employment as a health care assistant on a cancer ward at The James Cook University Hospital. I hope to progress onto the advanced apprenticeship when I have completed the intermediate level.

The apprenticeship scheme has helped me reach my potential by making me feel valued, respected and giving me the qualifications, support and training necessary to enable me to gain full time employment in a worthwhile career.


Darren’s storyDarren Ruddy

Business admin apprentice

After finishing university I found it extremely difficult to break into stable employment due to a lack of experience. Although I was well qualified I lacked real-world experience which was very problematic when trying to find work. After being unemployed for around three years with little success in finding a position, I applied for the apprenticeship programme and was subsequently accepted to study business administration NVQ level 2.

During my time studying my level 2, I was also employed within the trust to gain valuable experience. Training days were always informative and covered a wide range of subjects to help me integrate into a working environment. On completion of my level 2, I progressed onto the NVQ level 3 programme which I have just passed recently.

All of the trainers were extremely friendly and always there to help; I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship programme to anyone looking to develop a career in the NHS; the skills and experience I have gained are very useful and I have nothing but praise for the Widening Participation & Learning Team who were always there to offer support and advice throughout the course.

As a result of the apprenticeship scheme (which gave me the experience I had lacked) I have now commenced full-time employment with the medical physics department.


Nicola’s story

Nicola Harker and John Wayman

Healthcare apprentice

I left school in May 2003 and went straight into sixth form college. After completing the first year I realised I wasn’t enjoying college and opted to undertake a business admin apprenticeship with South Tees Hospitals. I worked as a clerical officer as part of the apprenticeship and achieved NVQ level 2 in business administration, technical certificate, key skills level 2 in communication and application of number and ECDL qualifications. In 2005, upon completion of my apprenticeship, I was offered a permanent job in the hospital as a ward clerk in the cardiology division.

However, after working in the ward for 12 months and observing the care staff providing support to their patients, I realised I wanted a change of career and thought I’d like to become a health care assistant (HCA). To develop my understanding of the role, and to ensure I was making the right career choice, I undertook some voluntary work on Ward 29 in my spare time. I thoroughly enjoyed the voluntary role and my desire to become a carer intensified. I soon felt ready to apply for work as a health care assistant and after applying for jobs advertised on NHS Jobs I managed to secure a permanent position on the very same ward I was undertaking voluntary work.

The post provided me with lots of on the job training, including basic nursing skills, but I wanted to gain some formal qualifications to support my role and opted to access a foundation apprenticeship in health and social care in September 2008. I enjoyed the learning and developed aspirations to become a qualified nurse. In October 2009 I progressed onto a level 3 health apprenticeship at the trust. Although I was not scheduled to complete my advanced apprenticeship until March 2011 I completed in July 2010; eight months ahead of schedule. This early achievement enabled me to commence my nursing diploma at Teesside University in September 2010, one year earlier than I had initially planned.

Nicola was named as North East Advanced Apprentice of the Year 2011.