Around 50 healthcare apprentices are celebrating after successfully completing their training at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
The apprentices have been working at the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool for the last two years, while they have completed an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Health Care Support at Level 3, at Stockton Riverside College of Further Education and Hartlepool College of Further Education.
The apprenticeship scheme gives students practical, hands-on experience working as healthcare assistants while gaining a nationally recognised qualification.
Vanessa Wray, 26 from Hartlepool, who is a mum to two young children said: The course was really good. It has without a doubt set me up for a career in health.
Jolene Brownless, 30 from Hartlepool said: “This course really makes you find your feet. I’ve made some really good friends along the way too.”
Sophie Steel, 22 from Stockton said: “I’ve gained some really good practical experience and now I’m working as a healthcare assistant in trauma and orthopaedics at the University Hospital of North Tees. I want to go on to university to train as a paramedic in the future.”
Amy Harvey, 20 from Stockton who is working on elderly care said: “You get really good practical experience on this course, that will help me in the future, where I plan to study adult nursing at university. I would definitely recommend it to others.”
Laura Wilkes, 21 from Sedgefield is now delighted to have secured a job working as a healthcare assistant in the trust’s accident and emergency department. She said: “I have always wanted to work in healthcare. Without the support from the tutor, my manager and everyone who I have worked with, I really didn’t think I could do it and I’m so grateful to them all.”
The trust’s nursing resource manager and coordinator for the programme Esther Blakey added: “I would like to say a big thank you to the college tutors for all of their support they have given the students.”
Speaking at the presentation, director of nursing, patient safety and quality Cath Siddle said: “As a healthcare apprentice you touch the lives of so many people who will be so grateful for everything you do for them. You experience and see things you will have never experienced before.
“The apprenticeship programme is fantastic. It gives you real life experience and you learn about the values associated with nursing in the trust; including those of care with compassion and listening and communicating in a way that patients understand.
“We know that juggling studying, work and family life is not easy, but during this time you grow as people. It is excellent to see so many people successful in securing jobs or going on to develop their careers further. Apprentices play an extremely important role; supporting the nursing staff and making sure our patients get the high standards of care they deserve. I would like to wish everyone all the very best for their future.”
Due to the success of the programme, the trust has been shortlisted in the Health Service Journal Awards finals, where winners will be announced in November.