Emma Field age 20 and Adam Speck age 17
Intermediate Laboratory Assistance (clinical analysis) through York College
Why did you choose to do apprenticeships?
Adam - Adam was at 6th form doing A levels he knew he didn't want to go to university- fees of £9,000 put him off. He wanted to get into work. The idea of earning and learning appealed to him.
Emma - Was at university doing forensic science didn't enjoy the learning style or course as there was a lot of physics rather than biology in it.
How did you hear about the apprenticeship opportunities?
Emma had always wanted to do apprenticeship since careers advisors at school had talked about apprenticeships. This was because the way of learning was more of a 'hands on' approach, and she found it easier to learn like this. At the time she was leaving school there were no apprenticeships in the areas of biological sciences so she opted for university (This is the first laboratory apprenticeship opportunity in NHS in this region).
Adam remarked... " we were very lucky" .
Apprentices were required to apply online via nhs employers website. To be shortlisted for interview this system requires applicants to provide examples of how they meet listed criteria that have been outlined in the person specification and are necessary for the job role.
Both Emma and Adam were successful in getting an interview which was held at York Hospital and included a laboratory based test. (interviewees were required to distill water into a test tube and label), a memory test and a basic computer test. Adam remarked that it was challenging as he didn't expect this. Emma said that she found the interview experience enjoyable, and unlike other interviews she had been to.
What do you do?
As Emma and Adam have only just started their apprenticeship they are only undertaking 5/6 different tasks under supervision. These include sorting samples and putting them through machines and reporting results, preparing laboratory 'plates' for MRSA & Chlamydia.
There is no patient contact in this role (although some MLAs do have a patient facing role where they take and collect samples from Patients) and there is some office work in terms of data collection, reports and filing. As Emma and Adam become more experienced they will become more involved in analysis of samples and will work more independently.
What do you dislike about the job?
Adam dislikes - having to ask questions.
Emma so far doesn't dislike anything about the job,however would like to feel more confident in and familiar with role.
What does the apprenticeship involve?
The apprenticeship is a full time job. Emma and Adam go to college every other Wednesday for a whole day to do theory for the Technical Certificate and portfolio building (day release). Both apprentices were required to undertake an assessment to ascertain their level of English and Maths. If they do not have the required level they will need to undertake functional skills sessions.
Adam - Getting the job ....it ( the application process) was very competitive and I was lucky to get my application in within the first 2 days. (there were a large number of applicants so the vacancy was closed after 2 days).
Emma - being left on my own after a couple of days - it felt good being able to do the task myself and it felt good that I was trusted to do this.
Where can this apprenticeship take you?
Emma - I hope this apprenticeship makes me qualified to do this job well. I am hoping it leads to career opportunities in the future. I may even consider going to university if the course is right.
Adam - I hope to progress onto an Advanced apprenticeship - after 3 -4 years I might consider taking biomedical sciences at University.
Advice to anyone interested in NHS apprenticeships
You need to have a positive attitude and not be over confident.
Adam (who is only 17): "Get a decent email address as this reflects you and shows a mature attitude and that you are credible and serious about wanting the apprenticeship and to work in the NHS ".