Don't just take our word for it, hear how our very own apprentices have got on working with us.

apprentice Renee
Renee Watson,apprentice secretary, endocrinology

Renee Watson was half way through her A levels when she realised academic studies were not the right path for her. Everything changed when her mum, Michelle, pointed her in the direction of our apprenticeship scheme.

“I was one year into my A level studies when I realised that I didn’t want to continue. I found the exam process too stressful, and I needed to find a more hands on approach to learning.

My mum has worked for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust since before I was born, and she has worked in quite a few departments. Recently she has had apprentices working in her team and was able to see what a great opportunity it was. She recommended that I looked down that avenue.

Initially I brushed the idea off and thought I would just go and look for a regular job, but she persuaded me to give it a bit more thought.  I contacted the apprenticeship agency, Step Ahead, and they arranged for me to go on a skills workshop. It gave me all sorts of advice on how to prepare for and succeed in interviews.

I was really out of my comfort zone when I went through my first round of interviews, and I didn’t do very well, but I decided I needed to get over my nerves and try again. On my second attempt I had four interviews lined up and got offered all four jobs! I was so happy!

I accepted a job as an apprentice secretary in the endocrinology department in November 2017. I spent some time shadowing work colleagues and learned how to use all the necessary software to do my job.  Once a fortnight I also had time with my Step Ahead tutor who has been supportive all the way through. I have also had a great line manager.

My confidence has grown enormously since I started. At first I was too scared to pick up the phone. Now they are putting in a phone line for me to manage all by myself! I am really keen to progress up the career ladder, and my manager has said that with the right training there is nothing to stop me progressing up to a band 5 or even band 6 role. I have already been offered a permanent job and a promotion since I have started here. The great news is there are a lot of different directions I can choose to go in at this Trust.

The NHS is such a good employer, which is full of opportunity for people like me. I have even encouraged one of my friends to apply for an apprenticeship here and she starts next week.

I knew university wasn’t the right way forwards for me. Now I am not in debt and have so much potential to develop my career. I would really recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who was wondering what to do next.”

portrait of apprentice Iyesha August-Hutchinson
Iyesha Auguste-Hutchinson, A&E administrator, St Mary's Hospital

Iyeesha Auguste-Hutchinson was encouraged to apply for her apprenticeship in her late twenties after being approached at the job centre.

“I had been unemployed for a while, and was frustrated by the lack of choice at the job centre. I had been a cleaner and a carer beforehand, but I was looking for something different. I knew I wanted to do something that contributed to society, but I couldn’t find the right job. Then one day, a lady stopped me and asked me whether I would consider an apprenticeship in the NHS.

My first thought was I’m too old – I’m almost 30, and I have a son. I had I assumed apprenticeships were only for school leavers. But the lady assured me that anyone could apply, and I recognised that working in the NHS was going to be a great opportunity for me.

The first thing I did was attend a two week course on employability, which helped me to prepare for job interviews. Then I went to of the “speed dating” open days the Trust runs, where you can meet with a range of managers who are looking for an apprentice for their team. 

I was really nervous, but by the end of the day I had a job offer for a role in the reception in the emergency medicine department! My manager, Kate, has been really supportive through the whole process. I was struggling to keep up with my course work a while ago, and she made sure I was given enough time during my working week to catch up. I don’t need a lot of hand-holding, but it was great that I felt able to as when I did need a little bit of extra help.

My apprenticeship began around eighteen months ago, and I have now been given a permanent  role as an administrator in A&E. I book patients into reception, answer phones and book ambulance slots. It’s a really interesting role, and I am really keen to progress further in my career here within the department.

I think if you are a parent in a similar situation it is well worth giving this a go – especially if you don’t suit academic study, or if, like me, you have to find a way to look after your family while you learn. I am so proud of myself for giving it a go, and I know that my son is also proud of me."