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Ashgate Hospice > Hospice Care Week: Learning on the job at Ashgate Hospice – from shop volunteer to clinical apprentice

From volunteer to retail worker and then clinical apprentice in just two years – Ashgate Hospice’s Holly Lacey is always up for the challenge of pushing herself to be the best she can be.

Keen to “contribute to something good”, the 22-year-old joined the North Derbyshire charity in May 2021 as a volunteer at the hospice’s shop in Matlock.

Just four months later, Holly was rewarded for her hard work when she was offered a paid position at the neighbouring shop in Bakewell.

She said: “I applied for a role at Ashgate as I felt I wanted to contribute to something good, something with a purpose that would help others.

“I love feeling as though I am helping make a difference to those people who need it most. I know that when I go to work, I am doing something important and for the greater good.

“I really enjoyed working in retail, every day was different, not knowing what stock would come through the door and working with all the different volunteers.

“The job was never boring, that’s for sure. Preparing the stock was my favourite part; getting stuck into the donations and finding all sorts of hidden gems!”

And then when an opportunity came up to join the hospice’s Community Clinical Admin team as an Apprentice Business Support Assistant in February this year – she jumped at the chance once again.

The role sees her process and record patient referrals for the hospice to support the Community Palliative Care Team in caring for patients and their families.

Eight months down the line, Holly says she’s enjoyed her varied start to her career at Ashgate and is looking forward to learning more.

She said: “I applied for the job in clinical admin because I wanted a challenge. I wanted to push myself to try something completely different to what I’d done before.

“So I thought what better way to challenge myself than through an apprenticeship. Luckily, I ended up loving it!”

Holly’s Level 3 apprenticeship involves on-the-job learning with dedicated academic learning time integrated into her working week.

“A challenge is what I wanted, and a challenge is what I got!” said Holly. “Since starting my apprenticeship my overall understanding of business administration has hugely increased .

“I’ve had to brush up on my knowledge about policies and procedures and time management, while learning about things completely out of my comfort zone such as finances and project management.

“Working at Ashgate is very fulfilling and varied. No two days are ever the same! I think no matter if you are in admin, a nurse, retail or a volunteer, everybody has a vital role in making the hospice the amazing place it is today, and your hard work does not go unnoticed.”

Holly, from Riddings, Derbyshire, insists her biggest achievement since joining Ashgate is taking the jump from the retail team into a clinical setting.

She says her colleagues Michelle, Sophie and Elizabeth have helped nurture her since she joined the team – and urged anyone thinking of starting an apprenticeship in the future to “go for it”.

Holly added: “The thing I most enjoy about working in the clinical admin team at Ashgate is the sense of teamwork.

“We are constantly asking each other questions and working through things together. Since my first day, the welcoming atmosphere and overall sense of being a team has never wavered.

“My biggest achievement since joining Ashgate would be reaching where I am today from starting as a volunteer.

“Not only progressing from a volunteer but changing from the retail department into a clinical setting was a big step.

“I would highly recommend an apprenticeship to anybody considering one. They are a great way to build skills and knowledge, all while learning on the job in the workplace. It’s a step that I am now so glad I took!”

Check out Ashgate Hospice’s vacancies and find out more about joining the charity’s ever-growing team.