1. What did you do before the apprenticeship programme in NHS Tayside?
I did a pre-apprenticeship at Dundee and Angus College, which was a 6 month course and covered a variety of different trades. This gave me a practical insight into each trade and helped me decide which trade I would like to pursue. After the course was finished, I decided to apply for Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing. NHS Tayside had contacted the College to let them know that they would be advertising for a Modern Apprentice in Plumbing. I submitted a job application and successfully started with NHS Tayside in August 2006. It was the first intake of apprentices for over 20 years in NHS Tayside.
3. What did you do in the Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing?
It was a four year modern apprenticeship. In the first year, I attended college on alternate weeks, during the academic year. This combining studies with practical work. The second year and third year were slightly more work based, with some attendance at college. Upon completion of third year, I was awarded an SVQ level 3 in Plumbing. The final year is all work based. I finished in August 2010 and I was awarded Apprentice of the Year for NHS Tayside.
4. What did you decide to once you had finished your Modern Apprenticeship?
One of my colleagues was studying an HNC at Dundee and Angus College and this made me aware that there may be further opportunities for learning, once I had finished my apprenticeship. I started an HNC in Construction in September 2011 and attended College on day release. My course fees were paid with Individual Learning Account (ILA) and a contribution from NHS Tayside Endowment fund. I completed the HNC in June 2013. I asked to continue learning and progress to an HND in Building Surveying at Dundee and Angus College. I was supported by my manager and got funding from NHS Tayside Endowment fund and the Property Department.
In 2014, a vacancy was advertised as a Trainee Estates Officer for Mechanical Engineering within NHS Tayside. I started this traineeship which involved attending Glasgow Caledonian University on day release for a BEng in Building Services. The HNC gave me direct entry into 1st year of the degree.
I am in second year of university and in the third year of my traineeship. Upon completion of my traineeship, I will be in my final honours year at University. Once I have completed my degree I will become an Estates Officer for NHS Tayside.
5. How did the Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing help you?
It started my career within NHS Tayside. I was a Christmas Leaver and left school at 16. I had decided I wanted to do a modern apprenticeship and I felt that school couldn’t offer me anything more. I thought the best route was to find out about apprenticeships by doing the pre-apprenticeship course. At that time of leaving school, I was not ready for University, but I am enjoying it now.
If NHS Tayside had not provided the funding and support and encouraged me to continue learning after my modern apprenticeship, I don’t know if I would have achieved what I have.
It is the perfect mix of learning, earning and applying theory to practice, which helps with the overall understanding of engineering systems. It does mean you have to put in more of your own time than you do if you are a full-time student.
6. What’s the best thing about your job, now?
I like the variety of work and I like working for the NHS. Everyone benefits from the NHS, including myself. I would rather work for a public service instead of a big company. I thoroughly enjoy the technical engineering aspect of my job role. The staff within the Property Department has been so supportive, when I was on my apprenticeship, and now on my traineeship.
6. What would you change?
I enjoyed my apprenticeship and traineeship programmes and would not change anything. I try to take an active role in supporting apprenticeships in the department and share my experiences.
7. What are your plans for the future?
I definitely want to stay in the NHS. Once I have completed my traineeship I would like to master my role as an Estates Officer and hope to progress whenever the opportunity arises, within my department.
8. What advice would you give to young people considering their career options?
If thinking about a modern apprenticeship then consider the pre-apprenticeship programme, if it is still available, or work placements. This will give you the opportunity to try various jobs and help you make an informed decision.
Not to worry too much – if you do not achieve the results you hoped for in school. There is plenty of time to continue learning and many different routes to achieve what you want to do.
9. What do you think of NHS Tayside as a place to work?
NHS Tayside have always been incredibly supportive and a good employer. NHS covers a wide range of occupations and there is another side to it that is just as important as the clinical side.