NAW2021 - Meet our apprentices: Mark Rowe
8 February 2021
National Apprenticeship Week is here! We are meeting some of our own apprentices this week to hear about their experiences on programmes here in Leeds and how they are building their future.
1. Introduce yourself!
Mark Rowe, Clinical support worker – completed, level 2. 46 years old. Starting Trainee Nursing Associate, 2 years starting level 3 completed + level 4 .
2. Why did you choose that specific apprenticeship?
I chose the clinical support worker role because I was looking for work leaving another job. It had been something on my mind and my mother had been trying to get me to do it for years, believing my character to be suited for the role. I had always been drawn to it but had stayed away for financial and lifestyle reasons. When I applied it was because I wanted to and I was in a position to make something of it. Financially I was in a good enough position to manage on the pay and I knew that if I could make something of it there would be opportunities for education and advancement. I wanted a role that was more than a job, I had been there and done that. I knew my strength was in working with people and I definitely wasn’t a salesman. The apprenticeship offered me a job and training and a place I could make a difference.
3. Was there any decision between the apprenticeship route and any other route?
There wasn’t any other educational options I would have considered at that time only other job roles.
4. What has been your proudest achievement on your apprenticeship to date?
My proudest achievement is the knowledge that I am a valued part of the team who people can turn to when they need something.
5. What has work been like since COVID-19 outbreak and how has your work changed because of it?
Work has been more difficult with more patients, with greater needs and more stress, the most stress I’ve been under since I started the role. Wearing masks all the time and then goggles and trying to manage social distancing in a work environment predicated on working closely. I sometimes felt the world had turned upside down. Within the healthcare role it just became the norm that there wasn’t enough of us to go round. 1:1 care became more common on every ward including our own and even if you weren’t using 1:1 then another ward that was needed your help, and so members of the team are constantly being moved. I began to realise I was being snappy with people and less helpful. It had started to become about me instead of the patient. My manager took me to one side one day and asked me about it. She was gracious enough to let me have my say and this was really what I needed as I had been bottling things up. I had a long hard look at myself, stopped blaming others for what wasn’t their fault and got back to being who I really am. The work doesn’t change: the patient and the team are what is important, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of it.
6. How do you see your apprenticeship helping you in your career progression?
My apprenticeship got me started. If the foundation is strong you are always going to have something to build on. And I believe the apprenticeship gave me strong foundations. The basics of healthcare, the foundational aspect of looking after patients, time management, training in new skills and keeping up to date with older ones. I have seen it in other members of the team who started as clinical support workers and moved onto nursing and then onto senior roles. They have always impressed me with their work ethic, their commitment and their abilities. They have set an example to me and I hope one day I can set the example to someone else.
7. What would your advice be to anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship?
I would say talk to the recruitment team find out what the job is like and make sure it is the job for you. It might well be the hardest thing you do. But if you want to make a difference helping people, This could be the place for you to start. And the reward is a massive amount of personal satisfaction and a job that you can stick with and never lack in pride for doing it. Or you can move around, take on other roles and other responsibilities. There will be support to get you where you want to be, whatever you want to be.
For more information about apprenticeships, email us at leedsth-tr.OrgLearnGetIn@nhs.net and a member of our team will get in touch.