You're hired! Hospital apprentice scheme gets young people working

Friday 31 May 2013

Joseph is currently an assistant team leader in the Rapid Response Team

380,000 Londoners are currently unemployed and a third of them are under 25.

With the government aiming to have 75,000 more adults starting apprenticeships by 2015, Guy's and St Thomas' is playing its part by supporting young people who lack the basic skills to access employment opportunities.

Over the past 18 months, more than 350 young people in the local community have been helped into employment by the Trust’s apprenticeship and work placement schemes.

Currently 60 apprentices are gaining the hands-on experience they need to get hired in areas including business administration, cardiology, engineering, midwifery, paediatrics and sterile services.

For young people who are unsure which career path to take, the Trust's Essentia team offer a rotational scheme in catering, hospitality and housekeeping to help young people find the right career for them. 

Guy's and St Thomas' also work with the Prince's Trust on their ‘Get Into’ work placement scheme - 70% of young people have gone on to find work or enter further education within six months of completing their placement. These short courses help inspire young people aged 16-25 to get into work in specific sectors such as catering, logistics and customer service by improving their communication skills and boosting their confidence, while developing their interview skills and CVs.

Case studies:

Nicola Spencer, 24, started a one-year apprenticeship in February 2010 as a maternity support worker and is now in her second year studying midwifery at the Trust’s academic partner, King’s College London.

Before finding her dream career as a midwife, Nicola was working as a customer care receptionist in the Maternity Unit at St Thomas', where she became increasingly passionate about pursuing a career in midwifery, when an email was sent around advertising the apprenticeship.

Whilst putting her theoretical knowledge into practice on the wards, Nicola also attended Guy's and St Thomas' education centre one day a week to learn new clinical skills, as well as important issues associated with midwifery. She was also able to work on her apprenticeship portfolio that went towards her BTEC qualification. 

Nicola says: "Without the apprenticeship I would not have had the experience needed to apply for a university place studying midwifery. I gained a good understanding of the role by working in the different areas of maternity. This also improved my academic skills, which is an area where I lacked confidence.

"This experience has been invaluable and has provided a fantastic foundation for my training. It is important to gain a realistic picture of what is involved in the area you are pursuing, this helps you gain the most out of your apprenticeship." 

On finishing her training, Nicola hopes to secure a position as a midwife at St Thomas’ and would encourage others to do an apprenticeship.

Joseph Banton, 22, is currently doing an apprenticeship and NVQ in healthcare support services for the NHS through the Essentia team, which delivers the hospital’s facilities, estates, IT and capital services. Since September, Joseph has gained experience in catering, housekeeping, administration and retail. He is currently working as an Assistant Team Leader in the Rapid Response Team on a project clean in one of the elderly wards.

After leaving school with one GCSE and a BTEC in sports science, Joseph realised that further education wasn’t for him and this apprenticeship could be just what he needed to put him on the right career path, which would enable him to provide for his two-year-old daughter. Whilst Joseph was at college he did some part-time construction work, but it was hard to juggle the two, making the apprenticeship the perfect solution.  

Being described by his managers as ‘really coming into his own’, Joseph believes it’s the best decision he could have made. And, with his apprenticeship due to end in September, he is keen to secure a position in housekeeping as a team leader for the Rapid Response Team, should a vacancy arise. This role would involve supervising the team and dealing with any issues that staff have regarding the intense cleaning and decontaminating in the hospitals to support the infection control team.

Joseph says: “I would tell others that an apprenticeship like this is one of the best ways of finding a job and you will enjoy it. I honestly didn’t anticipate gaining a career focus from my apprenticeship like this when I first applied and now I know exactly what I would like to do.” 

Shamara Johnson, 21, secured a position in the Trust’s payroll department as a pensions assistant in January after completing the Prince’s Trust ‘Get Into’ work placement scheme in the recruitment team.

After having a baby boy at 17, further education had to wait as the financial practicalities of being a parent meant finding paid employment was a priority. However in the midst of a recession, Shamara spent three years looking for work - anything from cleaning to office work - until she saw the ‘Get Into’ scheme advertised at her local Job Centre.

Before being appointed in her role this year, Shamara spent a total of five weeks from May to June last year providing administrative support to the recruitment department by arranging various pre-employment checks and corporate inductions for new starters.

Shamara says: “I’ve always wanted to work in an office setting within the NHS but it wasn’t easy as places were limited and I had to prove that I really wanted it. Fortunately, I was offered a placement and my life changed from that day. I cannot thank Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the Prince’s Trust enough.”

For more details about work placements or apprenticeships at the Trust, please visit our website at or contact Harlene Dandy-Hughes by emailing her at: [email protected].

Last updated: March 2022

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