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Lauren Starr - Customer Service Practitioner Level 2

Lauren is currently working as a Bowel Cancer Screening Programme administrator at the Trust.

When asked why she chose to do an apprenticeship and why specifically at CUH, she said that she was unsure about her future after finishing university and decided she wanted to experience the healthcare sector.

As she didn’t have any experience in a hospital setting, she thought an apprenticeship would be the best way to learn whilst also working and earning a salary.

CUH had been recommended to her due to its reputation and its location, so she felt that an apprenticeship here would be the best fit for her.

This clearly worked well for Lauren as during her apprenticeship, she was nominated for the National Apprenticeship Awards and went on to be a finalist at the regional stages.

This inspired her to keep progressing and challenge herself more.

Lauren Starr  Customer Service Practitioner  Level 2

What does a typical day look like in your role?

A typical day for me includes answering calls from patients with queries, organising future clinic and theatre appointments, taking these to the nurses, and making sure they are aware of the following day’s activities. I also sort through new referrals, check to see if patients require extra support e.g. offering video consultations, book patient taxis or check to see if they are chargeable patients, liaise with the overseas team, check patient’s details are correct on all systems and updating them if necessary.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I enjoy communicating with our patients and following their pathway through the screening process. It feels very rewarding working in a cancer service and knowing I was part of their journey.

What sorts of things do you do for the off the job learning aspect of your apprenticeship?

I asked to do a lot of work shadowing with staff in my own department, but also those in other departments that we liaise with, as this allowed me to understand more of what is involved in the service and other pathways that patients can be sent through.

I also completed a lot of online courses to do with customer service and other courses relevant to my job role, such as telephone skills, a medical terminology course, Sage and Thyme (communication skills) workshop and completing the Cognassist activities every month.

Does this involve attending college or is it all completed at work?

I completed college zoom classes that went towards my off the job learning but I mainly used my time to shadow and learn more efficiently as I progressed.

What are your future intentions?

My future goal is to progress further into having my own team and taking on more responsibilities. I was lucky enough to be selected for a band 3 role whilst still completing my apprenticeship so a higher role feels like the next natural step for me to learn more and progress either here at CUH or another hospital.

What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?

I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone considering applying. Make sure you are enthusiastic about the role and any tasks given to you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s really rewarding to learn as you go, so that when you get to the end of your apprenticeship, you can look back on your whole journey and progression, and be really proud of what you have accomplished.

The main theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is skills for life. What are the most important skills for life that you have developed in your role?

The biggest thing for me is confidence and I have learnt this and some amazing communication skills within my role. This has enabled me to speak to patients confidently and help ease their anxieties when they call with concerns. I am then able to liaise with other staff members confidently and build relationships with other departments, whether it is face to face, over the telephone or over emails.

Because I am more confident, I am able to take on more opportunities, as I now have more self-belief. I am showing more interest in learning new tasks and higher roles, which will help me in the future, as I will have a lot of experience.