Case Study - Fiona Harrison - NHS Hereford
1. Why did you decide to choose this qualification?
As a single mum, I have always done jobs around my children but as they are older and independent I wanted to do something for me. I have always wanted to work in an office environment but never had any training or in fact really never turned a computer on. By me doing this qualification I thought it would be a stepping stone into my new career and would give me all the basic qualities I needed and confidence. Also I have taken on board 3 GCSEs to enable me to complete my course.
2. What have you learnt during this qualification so far? And what do you find the most enjoyable?
I have learnt loads. I can use a computer efficiently using the Hospital programmes, a little bit of very basic Excel, emails and my people skills have grown massively as I get to interact with different people, staff, nurses and the patients. I have learnt lots of different aspects of an office experience with prioritising, organisation and different ways to communicate. With me taking my GCSEs as well, I have re-learnt things I have long forgotten and I have to study to pass my exams, it is the best feeling to take tests and exams and to be able to pass them as I know that I did the hard work, and it makes me feel proud at my age that I can do it and I will tell anyone in the office that will listen with a huge smile on my face.
3. Do you know what your employment status will be once you complete this qualification?
Yes I do. Unfortunately there is not a position for me within the department after I finish, though with my new knowledge and experience I have been able to apply for jobs around the hospital, with each interview my confidence has got better and I have good feedback about my knowledge and enthusiasm. I am still hoping to work in an office environment as I now have the bug.
4. What were your goals/expectations before you started this qualification?
I wanted to be able to prove to myself that I could do something new and out of my comfort area. I knew it would be hard work working full time being a mum and doing my studies but I really wanted to do it. I also knew that I would be taking a low pay but I sorted out things with the HMRC so that I would be OK.
5. Next Steps – what are your future plans and what do you intend to do once you have completed the qualification?
I am hoping to find a job within the NHS as I feel I have bonded here and actually feel proud to work here; it’s more than just a job. I have been looking into doing another year on my apprenticeship as a level 3. If I am not successful here then I will definitely be looking for other office work to expand my knowledge.
6. Starting Situation – what was your situation before this qualification?
I was a 42 year old single mum working part time as a carer for people with dementia. I had never had anything to do with computers and never set foot in an office before. I had very little skills and even fewer qualifications. My confidence was ok but only if I knew what I was doing and who I was talking to.
7. Would you recommend an apprenticeship to other people? If so, why?
Yes! It has made me feel empowered that at my age I can achieve anything. It is scary at first, especially being older because everyone expects you to be a school leaver and to be computer literate as it is taught in schools nowadays. I am proof that if you want to change your career, then an apprenticeship is a really good way to go as there is constant support from Riverside Training if you need it and from your personal Work Based Tutor who works with you one on one and at your level and speed. It also doesn’t cost you anything to do as all your learning and exams are paid for. It is a definite open door to my new career, wherever that will be.