My apprenticeship journey

MY NCH&C apprenticeship journey

Having decided that I didn’t want to go to university, I got a job at a local accountancy firm, after I wrote to some local companies to ask for jobs that involved maths and computers.

It was a pay cut from my weekend job stacking shelves in a supermarket but I was attracted by the training programmes they offered. After a year of doing a mix of accounting and admin, I started a two year level 4 apprenticeship in accounting, my job title was AAT Trainee.

I was really lucky to be in the team I was, as a lot of the staff were either current or previous apprentices. They were able to support me with my studies, as well as helping me to learn the day to day of my job. My manager was always keen to ensure my studies were used in the work place and tried to provide me work relevant to what I was learning, which really helped prepare me for exams.

I had enjoyed the mix of study and work and wanted to continue my studies, as I wanted to become an Audit Manager. With the support of my employer I signed up to do my Chartered studies via a level 7 apprenticeship in accounting. I was now an Audit Senior, still based in the same team, but now supervised more junior staff and worked at different offices to give me experience in different types of accounting.

At college there was a mix of apprentices and graduates in my class. I found that the practical experience I was able to draw upon, as an apprentice, helped me progress through my studies.

After six years in an accountancy practice I realised auditing wasn’t for me. I left to join one of my clients, a group of care homes, as the Financial Controller. I really enjoy working in the healthcare industry so made the move to the NCH&C in 2012 as a Finance Manager, initially responsible for Community Rehabilitation and then the four Localities. Since joining NCH&C I’ve been incredibly fortunate to gain opportunities I have had. I have been a Finance Manager, Senior Finance Manager, Head of Management Accounts, Head of Financial Strategy and am now the Head of Finance, with responsibility for a team of 22.

Since joining the team I have introduced apprenticeships and we now have eight of the team actively studying towards either AAT or Chartered qualifications.

I’d like to be a Director of Finance within the NHS in the future, as I really enjoy being part of such an important public service. I feel the apprenticeships I’ve done give me a strength, when compared with the traditional university route, as I have done almost every job within finance at some point.

To help me get to the next stage in my career, NCH&C are supporting me to do another apprenticeship. This time it is an MBA and I will start studying in February, at the UEA. It’s a bit nerve racking going back to education after 11 years, but I’m excited for the challenge.

NCH&C has such a wide variety of services, locations and professions that present huge opportunities for anyone looking to start a career in healthcare. The people in the organisation make it so enjoyable to work here, which makes such a big difference to your day.  People genuinely care about their colleagues and patients here.

I’ve benefited from some really good managers throughout my career and it’s thanks to them I’ve got to where I am. The support from the Talent for Care team, Clinical Education and line managers is excellent and enables apprentices to progress their careers to where they want to get to.