Alex currently works as an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Administrator within the EDI Team, which is part of Leadership & Organisational Development.
Alex was initially unsure of what he wanted to do as a job but chose to complete an apprenticeship after his mum mentioned to him about the apprenticeships available at CUH.
He joined the Trust as an apprentice 10 years ago because he liked the idea of being part of an organisation that helped people and he didn’t want to go to university and get into debt.
Alex became heavily involved in the inclusion work at the Trust via the staff networks and Unison, which helped him realise that he wanted a career where he was helping colleagues’ wellbeing.
This lead to him signing up to complete a Level 5 HR Consultant Partner apprenticeship which he has been studying now for over a year.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
Most of my work is checking e-mails and organising meetings. I help co-ordinate the EDI Lead and project manager’s schedules. I book and minute various meetings such as WRES or WDES implementation group meetings, which look at the workplace equality race and disability standards. I provide ad hoc help to the staff networks and co-ordinate or assist with other admin projects as needed.
What do you enjoy about your role?
The opportunity to be part of the EDI team and improve inclusion day to day. I’ve been very fortunate in meeting amazing people across the Trust who are doing incredible things for inclusion, and I get the honour of helping with some of these initiatives. All the people within the EDI and Leadership & OD Team have been really welcoming and kind since I joined the team a few months ago.
What sorts of things do you do for the off the job learning aspect of your apprenticeship?
I mostly use my job learning time researching and writing course papers but I also write reflective accounts of any training/development I undertake normally, and attend HR classes every 2-3 months that are organised by the college. Some of the papers involve project work I need to plan and carry out also.
Does this involve attending college or is it all completed at work?
It’s all completed virtually through West Suffolk College, which works well for me.
What are your future intentions?
I want to remain here at CUH for as long as I can. I enjoy my current role and want to stay in it for a few years, learning more about the strategic side of EDI.
I’d like to continue being involved in EDI work going forwards but I’m also open to learning and development or staff engagement work streams, as I feel these both contribute massively to the EDI work.
What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?
If you’re just entering the workforce after school, an apprenticeship can give you the baseline knowledge and skills needed to be successful in most jobs, and within the NHS especially there are lots of opportunities to further learning.
If you’re already in the workforce but know what you want to specialise in, or just want a qualification to solidify gained knowledge, then you should definitely consider an apprenticeship.
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?
For me the main one is organisation. I didn’t learn until I was 26 that I actually have ADHD and have unknowingly developed a lot of strategies to stay on top of my tasks, etc. Discovering my diagnosis helped explain why I needed those strategies. It has definitely helped me this past year with managing my normal work and the HR apprenticeship.