My introduction to the apprenticeship
I first heard about the apprenticeship via internal trust communications. At the time, I was at a crossroads within my career and wanted to do something that would help advance me to the next level whilst giving me a new challenge and a different way of thinking.
I had very broad and open-minded expectations of the programme. I knew that I wanted to be the best clinical leader I could be. Be a good role model and inspire others. In addition, I was hoping for a new challenge and a fresh perspective whilst being guided to be up to date with the most recent leadership trends and strategies.
Being an apprentice, it is essential you have the support of your line manager. I have a fully supportive clinical mentor and a line manager who both help give me advice, guidance, and opportunities to practice my skills and develop further.
The benefits to me and my organisation
As an apprentice, I am expected to develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours. One of the significant benefits is using my new knowledge to share with the team to support them through the most complex and challenging times.
I feel that I am fundamentally different since commencing the course; I have evolved my thinking beyond what I could have ever anticipated. I have a different outlook, and I have recognised that my true passion is for helping people be the best they can be, and I am excited about how I can now take this further for my future career. This change and confidence have been noted, and it has significantly helped me adjust to my new role, which started in the midst of a pandemic.
The improvements to the broader organisation have been small, helping the individuals in the service recognise their own strengths and empower and motivate them towards their futures. Still, this small scale impact has been so important during a pandemic to support the workforce.
Advice to future apprentices
I had not anticipated the impact of the additional workload the apprenticeship adds – however, I see this as a positive opportunity to ensure that skills are developed in a theoretical but essentially practical way. The apprenticeship element has also been vital in allowing off the job hours to make the study more manageable alongside a full-time job.
I wish I had been more organised from the start! My recommendation to others is to get into a regular habitual cycle of allocation of study time to ensure that you manage well your work/life balance.
I also recognise the significant challenge of completing this during a pandemic whilst also working clinically as an NHS staff member. Looking back, this may not have been an ideal time to undertake this. Still, equally, this has tested my resilience and provided me with rich learning opportunities – the study complements my practice and vice versa.