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BLOG: Shining a light on St Luke’s apprentices: National Apprenticeship Week 2024

This week is National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February) in honour of that we want to shine a light on the vital team of apprentices who have been working hard behind the scenes.

St Luke’s currently has seven apprentices, ranging from nursing to IT, data, Finance and administration, with a mixture of those currently working towards their apprenticeship or being newly qualified.

Our apprentices are a special bunch, which is why we wanted to honour them this week, by holding a lunchtime celebration on Wednesday 7 February at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.

The event was an opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution they have all made to St Luke’s and included food, cake and drinks. The apprentices were accompanied by their mentors, who have been providing them with ongoing support throughout their apprenticeships.

During the afternoon, St Luke’s CEO George Lillie and Director of People Services Adrienne Murphy, thanked both apprentices and the mentors for their contribution to St Luke’s and the patient and their families we support.

George said: “Every one of our apprentices plays a vital role at St Luke’s in helping us to deliver the high standard of care we strive for. As an organisation we are committed to providing on-the-job learning opportunities to people as well as supporting existing staff in up-skilling. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all our apprentices are part of the St Luke’s family benefiting from our values and support.”

We caught up with IT support apprentices James Dyer and Aden Webb, who are just over six months into their 18-month apprenticeships.

30-year-old James Dyer is an IT support apprentice. His role has been facilitated by Estio Training Apprenticeships. He first discovered that St Luke’s provided apprenticeships at a National Apprenticeship Week event last year at the Plymouth Job Centre. St Luke’s Head of IT Faye Cockerton and Group Head of IT Aaron Smallshaw were attending the event and after chatting with them, his apprenticeship developed from there.

“What stood out to me from Faye and Aaron from the other representatives in attendance was their passion to develop me,” James said. An apprenticeship was not something James had previously considered.

“I must admit my knowledge of apprenticeships was limited, I thought they were generally trade based and something you couldn’t do when older. I was really surprised by the variety of apprenticeships out there and that age is no limit.

“St Luke’s really appealed to me because of the cause, it had meaning behind what you were doing.

“I was surprised at just how many departments and people it takes to run a hospice, all with different IT needs and abilities. In fact, it’s not just one hospice at St Luke’s, I am working across three hospices including Rowcroft Hospice in South Devon and St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester. That really gives job variety as each hospice is so different.

James primarily works on the support desk for the hospices. “I love the variety and challenge of learning something new. Whether it is a new system or solving a problem.

“It could be anything from a call for a password reset, to hardware failure or something that is critical to the delivery of patient care for example the phones going down or our electronic prescriptions to ensure patients remain pain free. That is always in the back of my mind, the patients and their families. All the support teams including IT play such an important role alongside our doctors and nurses in achieving that outstanding expert care.

“It really is such a privilege to be a part of St Luke’s.”

Fellow IT support apprentice, Aden Webb has made working in a hospice a family affair, as his mum also works in a hospice up in Lancaster. This meant that the taboo around hospices and death and dying didn’t phase him, instead giving him an insight and a stepping stone into the world of hospice care.

The 24-year-old’s apprenticeship has been facilitated by Skills Launchpad Plymouth, following his degree in computing and games development.

Aden has been providing IT support for all departments across the hospices, from the clinical teams to fundraising and People Services.

“I’ve learnt you really have to adapt your communication style depending on the type of enquiry you get and their IT ability. It surprised me how much work goes on behind the scenes to ensure the IT systems are up to date, functioning and more importantly, secure to protect confidential patient information.”

Since the pair have been working at St Luke’s, they have been encouraged by the feedback from staff, reminding them what an intrinsic part of the St Luke’s team they have become.

Aden added, “We’ve both received a lot of positive feedback from the people we’ve helped. For people to go out and verbally acknowledge us, it feels like we are making a difference.

“Everyone has been so friendly, it has been a great supportive working environment.”

Thank you to all our apprentices for their hard work and dedication to St Luke’s.

If you are interested in an apprenticeship with St Luke’s then find out more here https://www.stlukes-hospice.org.uk/apprenticeships-and-placements/