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Sarah, 20 years old from Carntyne in the East End of Glasgow

I've been in care from the age of eleven and when things were going downhill, that's when I realised I wanted to get out there and do something with my life.

Prior to joining NHS 24 as a Communications Apprentice, I had a job in Youth Work and Childcare for around two years. I always had an interest in Admin and when the opportunity came up through Who Cares? Scotland, I had to take it.

I've been a member of Who Cares? Scotland for approximately five years and I received upcoming job vacancies through email on a regular basis.

I wanted a change in career direction and when I saw the advert for NHS 24. I thought to myself, it would be silly not to go for it – and whether or not I was successful, at least I tried.

Step by step process

Shortly after applying, I was contacted by a woman from the organisation called Carolelynne, asking if I could meet with her in person to discuss the post further. I then met with her and she told me a little bit more about the post and then asked me about myself and my background of being a young person in care.

It went really well and she was lovely – she agreed to progress my application and arranged for me to attend an interview skills training day with the other shortlisted applicants for the three roles within NHS 24. It was very informative and helped me gain the confidence I didn't currently have for job interviews!

I got the interview for my two chosen posts and I was selected for my preferred one, which was Communications.

The whole recruitment process was done in steps and when I found out I got the job, I was ecstatic!

It was hard saying goodbye to all the young people I worked with in my previous job but I knew that this was an opportunity not to let pass me by.

"I am now in a much better place than I was before and for once in my life, I feel settled and accepted for who I am."

Sara, NHS24 Modern Apprentice

Supported

I'm also in year two of my Social Services HNC and, although it's been tricky juggling it around having a full-time job, it has all been worth it!

The whole Communications Team have been so lovely and welcoming and always provide support with my apprenticeship!

In my role, I do a variety of different things. I assist with Social Media marketing, I'm involved in the development of campaigns, I play a part in putting together the organisation's internal magazine named INSIGHT and help promote Breathing Space – a service that supports people throughout Scotland who are low or anxious.

Variety

Every day is different, and I get out and about too. There are two other bases – one in Clydebank and another in Edinburgh, where I get to work in and am able to get to know the other members of the team, who have also been really nice.

I am now in a much better place than I was before and for once in my life, I feel settled and accepted for who I am.

My SVQ Assessor Joe has been really supportive as well. I'm really looking forward to developing my career within NHS 24.

Gain confidence

I would recommend anyone who gets this opportunity in the future to take it and learn new skills to help them develop in their career.

For me, an apprenticeship is really beneficial because you are able to learn on the job and gain an important qualification at the end of it. If you put in the effort, you can even be kept on if the role is suitable for you.

It is a great way to gain real work experience and confidence as well as enhance your CV. You are also supported throughout, which is really helpful in order to obtain the qualification.

It's a brilliant organisation to work for and I am proud to be a part of it.

 

Toni Durning, 19 years old from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire

Growing up for me wasn’t easy as, at the age of five, I was taken into care with my three brothers.

Being in care has made me want to go out and make a change, whether that’s to someone’s life or just to give back to the public.

I found out about the apprenticeship opportunity with NHS24 through Who Cares? Scotland.

Who Cares? Scotland had previously told me about the Modern Apprenticeship I had taken with Scottish Qualifications Authority and I was keen to continue my career through an apprenticeship.

I found the whole application process very relaxing. It was done in stages with support.

"I am excited to develop my career and hopefully go onto complete my apprenticeship and continue to work at NHS24."

Toni Durning, Modern Apprentice, NHS24

Plans to develop

The thing I found beneficial was that I was given the questions before the interview, which took the pressure and stress off me.

When I found out I got the Modern Apprenticeship I was over the moon, as I didn’t expect it.

When I joined my Digital Marketing team everyone was so welcoming and very supportive.

Now that I have settled in, I couldn’t have asked for a better team. They are very supportive and make sure I’m ok every day.

I am excited to develop my career and hopefully go onto complete my apprenticeship and continue to work at NHS24.

NHS is a great organisation to be part of.

More information

Find an employer guide to inclusive recruitment and retention on apprenticeships.scot

More information on funding support to help employers recruit those who are care experienced is available on apprenticeships.scot

Further support for employers is available by contacting MAequality@sds.co.uk

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