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York Hospital champions apprenticeship scheme

Apprentices have been given a unique chance to gain experience in a medical laboratory thanks to two new roles created at York Hospital. The roles highlight how opportunities are being provided by the NHS and highlight support for National Apprenticeship Week.

Apprentices Emma Reid, 20, and Adam Speck, 17, are the first to take up the laboratory apprenticeship opportunity which is new in this region.

Emma said: "I was at university doing forensic science but I didn't enjoy the learning style or course as there was a lot of physics rather than biology in it. I've always wanted to do an apprenticeship since I heard about it from careers advisors at school. When I left school there were no apprenticeships in the areas of biological sciences so I opted for university. I couldn't believe it when I saw this post advertised - I find the 'hands on' approach of an apprenticeship a much easier way to learn."

Emma and Adam fought off tough competition for the role which they saw advertised on the national apprenticeships website.

Adam said: "We were really lucky to get through. We had to apply through NHS jobs to get short listed. As well as the interview we had a laboratory based test, a memory test and a basic computer test so it was quite challenging. I've never wanted to go to university, the fees put me off. The idea of earning and learning really appealed to me so I'm really happy to have got this apprenticeship."

The apprentice medical laboratory assistants provide valuable support to the hospital's microbiology team.

Head Biomedical Scientist for Microbiology, Paul Sudworth, said: "Emma and Adam have been a real asset to the team and we have enjoyed sharing our experience and passing on skills to younger people. We do a lot of screening work particularly for MRSA and the apprentices play an important part in maintaining the clinical high standards of the hospital."

The apprenticeship is a full time job. As well as training on the job Emma and Adam go to York College twice a month to gain a technical certificate in Laboratory Assistance.

York Hospital has enrolled 23 apprentices over the past 12 months, the majority of whom are still on the programme. Four have already been given permanent roles with the trust.

Will Thornton, assistant recruitment manager, said: "York Hospital offers a variety of apprenticeship roles and levels - the higher level is equivalent to a foundation degree. We have apprentices in administration, health care support, and accountancy. Apprenticeships have something to offer everyone, whether they are young people starting out on their career or existing staff of all ages that want to develop their skills."

More details of apprenticeship opportunities can be found on the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust website,

15 March 2012

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