Heading towards success

Date added: 05 March 2018

After attending sixth form at the Maplesden Noakes School in Maidstone for two years Charlotte Head didn’t feel ready to go on to university.

The 18 year-old lives in Ditton with her parents and is one of three triplets. She studied A-levels in English literature and psychology, and a BTEC Level 3 First Certificate in Health and Social care, but felt under considerable pressure when it came to exams and no longer wanted to continue studying.

It was whilst she was in the middle of taking her exams that she started to look at apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offer routes into a variety of careers in the NHS and are an excellent way to earn, gain work experience and achieve nationally recognised qualifications at the same time.

June 2017, Charlotte applied for her very first apprenticeship which she spotted on NHS Jobs and says she didn’t have any expectations. It just so happened to be a post for a Voluntary Services Administration Apprentice in the trust’s voluntary services team and she and hasn’t looked back since!

She said: “I was successful following my interview and have now been in post for five months and I am so grateful for the opportunity. My experience so far has been nothing but positive. I’ve grown in confidence and learnt new skills that will be transferable in other roles I choose to do in the future.

“My line manager Helen is really supportive in encouraging me to learn new things. She recently booked me onto a minute taking course so I would have more confidence to take minutes at our team meetings.”

As part of her apprenticeship Charlotte studies for an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration at college. Apprentices are assessed in the workplace by their assessor and they are required to complete written work when attending college. The course is designed for people employed in an administration role.

Voluntary Services’ recruit volunteers and work with departments to create new volunteering opportunities. The team work with all departments, not just wards, to develop varied and exciting roles for people to get involved with the work the trust does.

The main part of Charlotte’s role is to maintain contact with each of the trust’s volunteers – all 300 of them! Since she has been in post, Charlotte has developed a fantastic relationship with the volunteers as she regularly checks in on them to see how things are going and if they need any help or support. She is definitely the friendly face just on the other side of the phone.

She said: “Talking on the telephone wasn’t always my strongest point, but I challenged myself that I could do it. It helps when you work with a really supportive, friendly and encouraging team that are always willing to help.”

Charlotte works alongside Helen Collins, Voluntary Services Manager; Stephen Tucker, Voluntary Services Co-Ordinator and Wendy Turner, Voluntary Services Administrator. When Wendy is away from the office Charlotte takes on the responsibility running the transport scheme which helps to get patients to their appointments. She ensures that the volunteer drivers are sent letters which make them aware of the journeys they will be doing for the week ahead.

Charlotte’s line manager Helen has nothing but positive words to say about Charlotte. She remarks how she has received nothing but positive comments from staff, patients, volunteers and the Friends of Mental Health about Charlotte.

She said: “The volunteers are so grateful for Charlotte maintaining contact with them to see how they are. They feel like they are part of the trust.”

Charlotte’s apprenticeship will end in September, but both Helen and Charlotte are hopeful that a permanent admin role will become available in the department or elsewhere in the trust as they are not ready to lose her yet!

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 5– 9 March 2018 and celebrates the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

If you are looking for an apprenticeship, find out what we have to offer by visiting our website.

For more information on our voluntary services department, please visit: https://www.kmpt.nhs.uk/get-involved/volunteering.htm

For more information on apprenticeships, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/national-apprenticeship-week-2018-naw-2018