The great thing about an apprenticeship is that it gives people the opportunity to earn while they learn new skills for their career. Our Virgin Care apprentices are in a diverse selection of roles across England, from healthcare assistants to receptionists and some of our back office colleagues too.
Sophie Richards is a Clinical Healthcare Apprentice at the Barnes unit in Tiverton, which provides short breaks for children and young people from four to 18 years old with additional needs, part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Devon.
Her day begins at 6am when she wakes up and gets ready to leave the house. She gets to the Barnes Unit by 7am and starts the day’s work by getting the children and young people out of bed and ready for the day, including preparing breakfast for them. The menus that Sophie and the team put together are based on their care plans, which include which foods they can and can’t eat. The children and young people staying at Barnes usually attend school as normal during their stay so once Sophie and the team have finished getting them ready to leave, they are taken to school before 8:30am.
In the morning Sophie plans activities for the children and young people. The activities give them an engaging and enjoyable time, and can include sports and performances. The team at Barnes provide a relaxing environment where children and young people can look forward to and enjoy activities they might not be able to do at home.
Later on, during lunch Sophie gets a chance to relax, chat with her colleagues at the unit and have a well-earned break. This gives the team the valuable opportunity to get to know each other and to talk more about the work they are doing. For an apprentice like Sophie these discussions are important as they give her an insight into the working relationships at somewhere like the Barnes unit. If Sophie continues with her career in healthcare what she learns during these conversations will help her work with other colleagues in the future, and they help to put the work she does at the moment in context too.
It gives you great experience of the workplace whilst gaining a qualification at the same time and gives you an opportunity to see if you enjoy that line of work before going into it full time.
Sophie then helps her colleagues plan the treatment for the children and young people. This is when Sophie gets the chance to learn about treatment plans that she might need to develop as she progresses through her career. Her colleagues at the unit go through the steps needed to put together and deliver a treatment plan for each child or young person. Along with what she learns at college, the skills she’s practicing will raise her level of knowledge to help her in any similar future role.
At the end of the day Sophie and the team sit down to update each other on how the day’s gone and how the children and young people staying at the unit are doing against the targets they’ve set for themselves with the team. They talk about any of the difficulties they’ve had during the day, which they try to resolve as a team, and plan for tomorrow.
As part of her apprentice ship Sophie spends one day a week at Exeter College to take part in seminars and learn the theory for her Level 2 Clinical Healthcare course. At college Sophie learns about the best practices for things like infection control, health and safety and the best ways to communicate with the children and young people at Barnes
Sophie says about her apprenticeship: “It gives you great experience of the workplace whilst gaining a qualification at the same time and gives you an opportunity to see if you enjoy that line of work before going into it full time.”
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