Skip to main content

Apprentice case studies


Ainsley Ewers – genetics laboratory apprentice


I started my Laboratory and Science Technician Level 3 apprenticeship in November 2013. I had always enjoyed science at school yet ironically had a dislike for biology, genetics in particular. Prior to being an apprentice, I worked in a warehouse for about a year and a half packaging newspapers and magazines. Realising that the job was unchallenging and had little to no opportunity for progress, I decided to put my previous qualifications in science to use and apply for an apprenticeship in the genetics labs as a Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA).

Although I would have preferred to have gone to university directly from college, the tuition fees had increased the year I was due to go, so I decided that it would be more beneficial to earn and learn at the same time. This was key to why the apprenticeship framework appealed to me.

I found that being an apprentice gave me the challenge I had wanted in terms of both the workload at college and on-site at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The experience was also a practical, hands-on way of learning about a subject and then applying the knowledge and theory behind it to real life situations.

I started off in molecular genetics where I learned how to extract DNA and RNA from organic samples using a variety of biological techniques. During this time I also studied at Bradford College while working towards gaining a BTEC Level 3 in Applied Science and NVQ Level 3 Diploma.

About half a year into the apprenticeship, a full-time vacancy for an MLA position came about and I was encouraged to apply for it which, after a round of interviews, I was successful in obtaining. This allowed for me to continue with my apprenticeship whilst taking on the increased responsibilities of being an in-service member of staff. I spent the next year learning the different processing techniques in the cytogenetic oncology section of the Sheffield Diagnostic Genetics Service.

Since completing the Level 3 apprenticeship I have taken on the role of team leader within oncology pre-processing team and have gone on to train new members of staff. Still eventually wanting to go to university, I am aiming to secure a place on a Level 4 qualification scheme, equivalent to a degree, by the end of 2018, with the goal of furthering my career.

Jenny Murfin – health science apprentice


I started as an apprentice in 2014. I am based in the Audiology (hearing) department in Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

I had been applying for many jobs before I went for my interview at the Children’s. I always knew I wanted to work in a health profession but knew university wasn’t going to be for me.

When I started I was welcomed into a lovely team and they all supported me with my training. I was the first apprentice to be in Audiology at the Children’s.

I did a Level 2 NVQ in health science and was given time to do this at work. I found doing the NVQ while working in the actual profession made it a lot easier and more interesting because I could put my practical experiences into my written work.

The apprenticeship, and additional training offered by the NHS, have helped me develop many skills. I have gained so much confidence from dealing with patients and in my own ability to learn new skills.

I really enjoyed my experience and am now continuing to develop my career in the Audiology team as a permanent Band 3 assistant audiologist.

I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship to anyone.

Liam Hague – business administration apprentice


I started as a business admin apprentice in the Human Resources department in 2013, not long after I finished my Level 3 IT at college.

It was my first job so I didn’t know what to expect. Once I started and I got to know the people I was working with I really enjoyed it. I gained a lot of skills and experience throughout my apprenticeship and made some great friends at college who were doing the same apprenticeship as me.

Doing the apprenticeship has helped me get my current job as OLM admin assistant in the Learning and Organisational Development department. OLM stands for Oracle Learning Management and is where we record courses and e-learning on staff records.

One thing that the apprenticeship has really helped me with is my confidence. I have now completed my moving and handling key trainer course which means I am now a trainer. This is something that I would have not have been able to do before my apprenticeship because of my lack of confidence. But that has all changed now – my confidence is constantly increasing and that is all because of this apprenticeship.

Another thing that has improved from doing an apprenticeship is my writing. Before I started my apprenticeship I struggled with my writing and spelling. Now I am coming to the end of my Level 3, I have seen a massive change in it. This has also been identified by my college tutor. This is something that is going to help me throughout my life, not just in work but outside of work too.

I have now nearly finished my Level 3 advanced apprenticeship which I have been doing while I am working. This will hopefully be something else I can add to my CV to help me stand out from other people when I am applying for future jobs.

Doing an apprenticeship has given me a great start in the NHS and it will also help me progress throughout the NHS and my life. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone that wants to get started in the NHS.

Luke Hirst – business administration apprentice


Applying for an apprenticeship within the NHS felt like a good step forwards in early 2012 following numerous interviews and application forms where I came unstuck at the ‘previous experience required’ box.

In late March 2012 I started my Business Administration apprenticeship with Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust working within the Estates Department, alongside the Head of Estates’ PA and Office Manager Jayne Bargh.

Though nervous at first I grew into the position and developed an understanding of the expectations required of an administrator within an Estates Department. As well as the basic tasks which were part of my day-to-day role I had many opportunities to make tasks and projects my own. As the year developed I was able not only to work as part of the administrative team for the Head of Estates but also assist in the Maintenance Department and the Capital Projects Team.

As the apprenticeship came to a close an opening came up within the Estates Department and I was successful in applying for the role of an Estates Administrator. Not long after securing this full-time position, and following a number of personal development meetings, I was supported by my department with the funding for applying to Sheffield Hallam University to undertake a degree course in Facilities Management. This support has proved integral to my continuing development.

Recently I have been successful in securing a new post with the Estates Department of Junior Estates Officer with responsibility for overseeing Property and Energy issues for the Trust. I hope to continue my progression within the Trust’s Estates Department and will continue to be grateful for the opportunities given to me.

You might also be interested in...

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Children's@SheffChildrens
Clinical Nurse – Closing Date: 02/11/2021 #NHSJobs
July 2021: To protect our patients we are restricting visitors to one person per patient at Sheffield Children’s at all sites. Please help us to keep everyone safe.See more NHS guidance about COVID-19