NEWLY-hired apprentices have given a big thumbs-up to a pilot scheme allowing them to kick-start their careers in the NHS in Sheffield.
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has followed in the footsteps of Sir Alan Sugar by taking on six new apprentices to help care for children with mental health conditions and learning disabilities at the new £12m Becton Centre in Beighton.
The hospital treats young people and families across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire for issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The new year-long scheme has been viewed as a ‘lifeline’ by youngsters struggling to get a foot on the career ladder in today’s tough climate.
Adelle Gilbride, from Doncaster, has switched from a career as a community care worker for the elderly to work on Becton’s Ruby Lodge for children with learning disabilities and associated mental health problems.
The 20-year-old said: “I couldn’t really apply for a job working with children otherwise, because you need experience.”
Former construction worker Scott Athorn, 30, was the first in post six months ago and said the scheme was the perfect start in helping him become a nurse.
Scott, from Norton, said: “It’s a good way to get to know the job before you commit to three years of university and has proved to me it’s what I want to do..”
Amanda Rose, 28, from Chesterfield, ended a career in retail for Dorothy Perkins to train as a mental health nurse.
She said: “I’m really pleased to be on the apprenticeship, it was a really big thing for me to change what I was doing. I’d like to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Other new apprentices are Zoe Simnett, 21, from Handsworth, Jade Tollerfield, 19, from Halfway, and Louise Murphy, 40, from Woodhouse.
They join a team of 120 health workers who will show them the ropes at The Becton Centre which opened fully in February.
Lead nurse Nick Harrison, who pioneered the scheme, said: “This is a great career starter and puts them in a good position for any future jobs at the centre.”