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Rebecca Hughes - Improvement Practitioner, Level 4 and Business Administrator, Level 3

Rebecca wasn’t happy in her job so decided to look at a new career. She had liked the admin aspects of her role at the time but didn’t have enough experience to do admin as a full-time job.

After exploring what was out there, she saw a Business Administrator Level 3 apprenticeship being advertised at CUH and thought this would be a good way to get into the admin field.

She liked the idea of earning and learning and because CUH had a good reputation, she thought working here would look good on her CV.

Having been out of education for a few years, Rebecca wasn’t sure if an apprenticeship was for her so she contacted the Apprenticeship Team at the Trust and the line manager on the advert for a chat.

From this, she decided to apply and was lucky enough to be successful at the interview. She started in the Admin Team in Occupational Therapy in November 2020 and in June 2022 gained a permanent position with them. Once she had completed her Business Admin Level 3 apprenticeship, she decided that she wanted to develop her skills further and she started her Improvement Practitioner Level 4 Apprenticeship in July 2023.

In September, Rebecca was promoted to her new role, as a Divisional Support Officer in Division B. She says that it was through the additional opportunities she took after completing her apprenticeship that equipped her with the skills and confidence she needed to apply for the role.

Rebecca Hughes

What does a typical day look like in your role?

I am the personal assistant (PA) to the Division B Deputy Head of Nursing and the Operational Manager for Therapies and Dietetics. My role covers both PA and Divisional support and I assist them with any divisional tasks, such as new starter events, attending meetings where I take the minutes, preparing papers by pulling data from QSiS and CHEQS and circulating this information prior to the meeting, managing their inbox and calendars.

What do you enjoy about your role? I enjoy many thangs about my role. I am lucky enough to work with some amazing colleagues, who have always and continue to be very supportive of me. It can be really rewarding when you receive a meaningful thank you for the hard work you have completed.

I also enjoy being part of the SMT walkarounds and visiting different departments and services, it has given me a real insight into how an area works, seeing first-hand the department showcase the amazing work they have been doing and also gaining a real insight in to the challenges they face.

Another of my tasks which I find enjoyable is working with data and helping to display it in a meaningful way to a wider audience. I like being able to look into detail why something has or hasn’t worked and what could be done to improve the process or experience, or how we can continue in areas which do work.

What sorts of things do you do for the off-the-job learning aspect of your apprenticeship and does this involve attending college, or is it all completed at work?

I have a training timetable which I was given when I started my apprenticeship. I attend two, 2-hour online sessions most weeks with colleagues from different organisations and these are recorded, so if I miss a session and / or would like to recap on a session, I can watch them back. In the remaining time I work towards my project, professional discussion and exam.

My project has involved me shadowing other colleagues to enhance my learning. I also have regular coaching sessions, which involves my mentor and / or line manager and all my work and evidence is uploaded online.

With my first apprenticeship, this was also completed online because of Covid and I only attended college for my exam. I met with my tutor regularly and had reviews which also involved my manager.

What are your future intentions?

I would like to stay and progress by continuing to develop my knowledge and experience and continuing to learn all aspects of the role. I would consider completing another apprenticeship.

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

An apprenticeship is a great way to learn and develop your skills whilst getting paid. Although I wouldn’t choose an apprenticeship as an easy option, it’s hard work, your tutors, managers, colleagues invest in you by providing support and guidance, so you have to be willing to learn and complete the work.

I have developed a lot personally and I wouldn’t be in my current role if I hadn’t completed the apprenticeship. My advice would be to contact the apprenticeship team, they will be able to help answer any questions you may have or help to point you in the right direction of someone who can. For me, I was unsure what my next apprenticeship would be, so they contacted another colleague who was completing the course, to give me an insight into what the course was actually like.

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?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, remember that it’s ok not to know all the answers, especially when you are still learning. Whether you are on an apprenticeship or not, and regardless of your length of service or grade, it is better to ask than to struggle to complete a task.

Take any opportunities that come your way or seek opportunities as you never know where it will lead. It could be developing your skills and knowledge or making connections with new colleagues or opening up to opportunities in the Trust.