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Whether it’s to learn new skills or a journey of personal development – apprenticeships are a great way for staff members to further their careers, whilst learning on the job.
Here at Ashgate Hospice, many staff members working across the organisation have been encouraged to undertake apprenticeships to benefit their professional development.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place between 5th and 11th February this year, we caught up with staff at the hospice. They shared insights about their motivations for pursuing apprenticeship courses and what they’ve learned along the way.
“I started my Coaching Professional level five apprenticeship in September 2021 and was given 16 months to complete the course alongside my role in the volunteering team. The reason I wanted to explore the prospect of an apprenticeship is because I understood the benefits of coaching and wanted to know more.
“I enjoy learning and wanted to challenge myself to do something outside of my comfort zone. I ended up learning a lot about myself and this increased my confidence. But most of all it helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the framework coaches operate within and the principles that guide coaching.
“Taking on an apprenticeship isn’t easy; a lot of worthwhile things never are! However, there is now a support network within Ashgate, so you won’t feel like you’re on your own. Had I done this qualification outside of work it would have cost £5,000 but as we pay into the apprenticeship levy there was very little cost to Ashgate.
“You will end up with a recognised, professional qualification that will increase your knowledge, skills and development. That will, in turn, benefit Ashgate in the long term!”
“After many years’ experience in health and social care, I felt that it was the right time to make the move into management at Ashgate. For me, it is important to have an evidence-based, academic understanding of my practice and that includes being a manager, so I was keen to take up this opportunity when presented.
“That’s how I started my Operations or Departmental Manager level five apprenticeship in September 2021. We met monthly online with our course tutor and worked our way through the different modules.
“The best thing about the apprenticeship was that it gave me the time and space to think about my role, how to improve my skills and knowledge and how I could take what I was learning into the teams to be a more effective manager.
“I now feel more competent with the knowledge I have gained. I believe that the apprenticeship has given me a greater self-awareness about my strengths and the areas I need to develop further. This has enabled me to better understand and support my team members and colleagues.”
“I currently work as a Housekeeper based at Ashgate Hospice and have been at the hospice for eleven years now. Because of how much I enjoy my job, I decided to look into doing some team-leading training as I did not have the relevant qualifications. Taking on an apprenticeship would mean I would be in a position where I could one day apply for a Team Leader role should it become available.
“Whilst reading the hospice’s internal bulletin one day, I saw a story about a member of staff who had completed an apprenticeship alongside her job at Ashgate. This was the first time I had heard of this happening within the hospice and it really intrigued me.
“After I first completed my level two in team leading, I then started my level three apprenticeship in October last year. The course runs alongside my job role, so I am learning about different aspects of team leading, as well as completing different tasks for my apprenticeship as I do my everyday job.
“It is hard work, but I would encourage anyone who wants to progress in a certain area to complete an apprenticeship. I have received so much support and encouragement from my managers, the rest of the housekeeping team and our Learning and Organisational Development facilitator. This is helping me a lot to achieve my goal of completing my apprenticeship!”
“I started my apprenticeship in August last year after my line manager mentioned a data professional course that might suit my role at Ashgate. The hospice’s strategic vision moving forward is very much data focused, and the fundraising team works with our supporter database, so the 12-month course fits in well with the organisation and its strategy, as well as enhancing my role.
“The course is structured well, so each element of it feeds into the next. For example, we’ve just completed a module on Power Query, and now we’ve moved to Power BI, which really requires an understanding of the previous module to understand. Also, the workshops are great for bringing people together from different hospices to understand each other’s way of doing things and how we can help each other!
“My vision is to streamline our operations by bringing specialised work in-house, leveraging the knowledge and skills gained from my apprenticeship. By harnessing our internal capabilities, we can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain greater control over our processes.
“If you can handle your time well and discuss with your manager to set aside 4-6 hours a week for focused learning without any interruptions, you’ll find an apprenticeship valuable. I would jump at the chance to do it again!”
“I started a 12-month apprenticeship in July last year to earn a Level 3 qualification as a Data Technician. In my HR role, I predominately work with people rather than data. However, I recognise the growing significance of data in organisational operations and decision making. Therefore, undertaking this apprenticeship was a valuable opportunity to learn more about this.
“So far, the course has taught me how to extract, transform and present data to various audiences and has helped my understanding of how to use Excel and Power Query to do this. I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to learn and although it can be challenging to do this whilst working full time, I am supported well by my line manager, team and tutor.
“I joined Lorraine on the level five Operation or Departmental Manager apprenticeship in September 2021 and completed the course towards the end of last year. I wanted to take on the course to gain a formal qualification; I have been managing a service for a few years but didn’t have any formal qualifications linked to it on my CV.
“The course involved online mentored training sessions and workbooks, followed by a written evaluation, presentation and professional discussion. I feel the apprenticeship has given me insight into the process of apprenticeships and has enabled me to support colleagues who are also doing them more effectively.
“I would advise anyone who might be unsure about doing an apprenticeship themselves to look at the course and what they stand to gain from it. I had a very functional reason for wanting to complete the course and whilst I found it useful at times, it has made me realise that learning is most enjoyable and effective when the subject is one of interest to you. I found the process straight forward and the support from the Learning and Operational Development team was very helpful!”