Skip to main content

It looks like you have JavaScript turned off

Pretty much everything should work. But you may find some components look slightly off as a result. You can find out what JavaScript is here. If you don't have JavaScript turned off, or if something doesn't work that you think should do, please get in touch.

Tahya — Lev­el 3 Senior Health­care Sup­port Worker

Tahya Square

You get so many oppor­tu­ni­ties here. I’ve been into the­atre to watch oper­a­tions, I’ve been over to the Queen’s cam­pus to work in dif­fer­ent wards…you gain a lot of expe­ri­ences, rather than just hear­ing about them. 

Tahya Fells — Lev­el 3 Senior Health­care Sup­port Worker

We spoke to Tahya who’s cur­rent­ly work­ing as a Senior Health­care Sup­port Work­er at the City Hos­pi­tal. She told us more about her expe­ri­ence with her Lev­el 3 apprenticeship.

What made you decide to choose an appren­tice­ship, as opposed to oth­er edu­ca­tion­al routes?
I went to col­lege for a cou­ple of weeks and then I found this appren­tice­ship. I work a lot bet­ter with hands-on learn­ing as opposed to tra­di­tion­al, class­room-based the­o­ry so I signed up for this course. Unlike uni­ver­si­ty, I am get­ting paid too. Some peo­ple spend 3 years on a uni­ver­si­ty course and find out that they don’t enjoy it, so they end up with sev­er­al years wast­ed. With an appren­tice­ship, it gives you the chance to try out a role and decide whether it’s right for you or not.

How long have you been doing your appren­tice­ship?
So I start­ed in Jan­u­ary so I’m just over a year in.

What attract­ed you to the Health­care Sup­port Work­er appren­tice­ship?
I was doing Health and Social at col­lege and I found it very inter­est­ing. I’ve always want­ed to look after peo­ple and care for them the best I can.

Was it an easy process to apply for your appren­tice­ship?
It was okay at the appli­ca­tion stage, once I got accept­ed there were quite a few checks I had to do though, such as a DBS.

Do you get a lot of sup­port from your employ­er and tutor?
Yes, I get a lot of sup­port. We meet up every Mon­day and we do an extra call every two weeks just to check up on one another.

What kind of peo­ple do you think would suit an appren­tice­ship like yours?
You’ve got to want to look after peo­ple. Han­dling per­son­al care isn’t the eas­i­est thing to do, so you must be a nat­u­ral­ly car­ing person.

What’s a typ­i­cal day in your role like?
In my case, I’m not on the kind of ward that most peo­ple first think of, I’m on an admis­sions unit. So, in the morn­ing the patients come to us before they go to the­atre. So, we’ll do their obser­va­tions, get them changed, send them off to the­atre and then we’ll take their belong­ings to the ward. Because of the pan­dem­ic, we often get sent to help at the wards. So, in the morn­ing you’d do a han­dover, you’d find out which bay you’re assigned to, you’d help wash the patient and every cou­ple of hours you would have to do turns.

Obser­va­tions would be things like tak­ing their pulse and their blood pres­sure. On my ward you also have to do a stand­ing blood pres­sure read­ing as well, just in case it drops, as it cre­ates a risk of falling after theatre. 

What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is being able to help the patients. When I help with wash­ing patients in the morn­ing, it’s real­ly reward­ing to see them look­ing and feel­ing bet­ter. When they come into the ward, they can also be a bit ner­vous so it’s nice to be able to talk to them and make them feel more relaxed.

Are you enjoy­ing your appren­tice­ship?
Yes, I’m real­ly enjoy­ing it. I’m so glad I chose this appren­tice­ship to do.

What has it been like work­ing in a hos­pi­tal dur­ing a pan­dem­ic?
Well, I start­ed halfway through the pan­dem­ic, so I don’t know what the old nor­mal’ is. This is nor­mal for me, but I do see how chal­leng­ing it is. To get onto my clean ward you need to iso­late for 7 days and have a PCR test result, and if they don’t have that we can’t let them in for surgery. That can be a bit frus­trat­ing. We also strug­gle for beds at times, but we do our best to adapt quick­ly to prob­lems like this.

What are your plans for the future after you fin­ish your appren­tice­ship? Has your time spent as an appren­tice helped give you a bet­ter idea of what you want to do?
At the minute, I don’t know what spe­cial­i­ty I want to go into so I’m just observ­ing as much as I can to help me decide. Once I fin­ish this course, I’ll look into some­thing called NHSP, where you can pick up shifts online in a vari­ety of wards. So, you can go into a wide range of departments.

Do you believe that your appren­tice­ship has giv­en you more oppor­tu­ni­ties to gain expe­ri­ence in your cho­sen sec­tor in com­par­i­son to a stu­dent in full-time edu­ca­tion?
100%. You get so many oppor­tu­ni­ties here. I’ve been into the­atre to watch oper­a­tions, I’ve been over to the Queen’s cam­pus to work in dif­fer­ent wards…you gain a lot of expe­ri­ences, rather than just hear­ing about them.

Has your appren­tice­ship taught you any life lessons?
Yes, it’s taught me to enjoy what you have and to not take any­thing for granted.

What advice would you give to oth­er peo­ple who are strug­gling to work out what to do next once they’ve fin­ished school?
I think doing an appren­tice­ship is a good option as you get the the­o­ry-side as well as the prac­ti­cal. My course isn’t just work; you do get a day in col­lege as well. So, I think you get a help­ful mix­ture of everything.

Do you have any advice for any­one con­sid­er­ing doing an appren­tice­ship?
I remem­ber on my first day it felt so nerve-wrack­ing, but I think you just need to believe in your­self because we all start somewhere.

We also spoke to Tahya’s asses­sor, Ker­ry, to learn more about the part she plays in col­lege apprenticeships.

As an asses­sor, are you hap­py with Tahya’s progress through­out her course?
She’s tak­en to it real­ly well, nothing’s too much trou­ble. If I ever give her any feed­back she works hard to take it on board and improve her units. It is a tough indus­try, espe­cial­ly at the moment with the Win­ter pres­sure, so she’s done real­ly well.

Do you find that you end up offer­ing a lot of advice in terms of career pro­gres­sion?
A lot of peo­ple have dif­fer­ent ideas, some would like to get into nurs­ing some would like to stay on as a health care sup­port work­er. So, we work close­ly with the NHS, look­ing at dif­fer­ent path­ways. If they want a bit of careers advice, we help them with that but also things such as aca­d­e­m­ic ref­er­ences if they want to go onto university.

Do you think appren­tice­ships are a good pro­gres­sion route post-school?
There’s noth­ing like that expe­ri­ence, espe­cial­ly in health­care. If peo­ple want to become a senior nurse, that foun­da­tion of patient care they get real­ly helps towards that. Espe­cial­ly with the NHS, they get a lot of expe­ri­ence with dif­fer­ent wards.

Could you explain a lit­tle more about your role, for peo­ple who are not famil­iar with asses­sors?
Gen­er­al­ly, I see the stu­dents at least once a month for a 1 to 1 ses­sion to talk about their progress, set them tar­gets, give them feed­back on their work. It’s my job to make sure they’re learn­ing what they need to and I give them sup­port to help them earn their qualification.

For a Health­care Sup­port Work­er course, how is the work assessed?
For a Lev­el 3 qual­i­fi­ca­tion, there tends to be a lot of writ­ten work but a lot of obser­va­tions and prac­tice. We’ll typ­i­cal­ly go into wards and see how they work. We’ll do at least 3 obser­va­tions, so we can see if the the­o­ry is going into prac­tice. They’re also expect­ed to do some reflec­tions, which involves them writ­ing down their expe­ri­ences and crit­i­cal­ly look­ing back on them. They review things such as what worked well and what could have been done differently.