Ashleigh Leggett Cadet (Apprenticeship) in Health and Social Care

Skills for Health Academy North West

 

Ashleigh Leggett left school at 16 with six GCSEs, but although she had always wanted to go into nursing, she thought she had missed her opportunity. Believing that she would not be able to fulfil this ambition if she didn’t stay on at school to do A-levels, she decided to go into hairdressing instead. 
 
But she didn’t like the environment and felt she was not very good at it. “It wasn’t a real career option for me, so it didn’t work out,” she says. For a year after leaving her hairdressing job, she was unemployed, so when she saw that she could apply for a place on a Level 2 Cadet (Apprenticeship) programme in Health and Social Care funded by NHS North West and supported by Skills for Health through their North West Academy, she jumped at the chance to turn her life around.
 
“I was nervous about the interview just as with any job interview, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable, and I got the place,” adds Ashleigh, who is now 18. She attends college two days a week and spends the other three days on placement on a ward in Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool. At the moment she is working on the Urology and Vascular Services wards, and she will complete two other two-month placements on other wards before she finishes her Apprenticeship.
 
Throughout her Apprenticeship Ashleigh will receive support and guidance from her mentors on placement and her Cadet Support Practitioner from the Skills for Health Academy North West. 
 
Financial independence 
One of the advantages of starting her Apprenticeship, having been unemployed for some time, was that it gave her life back some routine. She had to attend college for the first 10 weeks of the programme, so it helped her to get used to having to be somewhere every day at a certain time. She also receives an Apprenticeship-level wage of £97.50 a week to help her support herself financially. “When I was unemployed I got sick of looking at my four walls,” she laughs. “It was good to get back into a healthy routine after being out of work.” 
 
On the ward she helps out with many aspects of patient care, including observations, helping patients who are less mobile with their personal care, and aiding patients at mealtimes. She has even been invited into theatre to observe an operation. “I am learning to do everything that a Healthcare Assistant does; I’ve learnt loads,” she says. At college, she

“I know this is a challenging career to get into and I’m really proud of myself. It’s really rewarding being here.”

 

and her fellow Cadet (Apprentice) learn how to put together healthcare plans and the importance of good patient care.
 
Balancing studies
Ashleigh enjoys the challenge of balancing work at the hospital with her college coursework, and is also working towards her Key Skills qualification in Application of Number as part of her Apprenticeship, attending weekly classes. 
 
She will achieve a Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care this summer, and hopes to continue her studies by moving on to the Level 3 qualification and ultimately a degree in nursing. She also has the option to build on the experience she has gained before progressing with her studies and or getting a job as a Healthcare Assistant at the end of her Apprenticeship, and she appreciates having multiple options open to her.
 
Positive outlook
For Ashleigh, taking the Apprenticeship route has opened up a career opportunity she thought she had missed when she left school. “Without my Apprenticeship I would have ended up doing a job I didn’t want to do. This way I get lots of experience before I start university,” she says.
 
Ashleigh also has a personal motivation for following her dream. Two of her aunts had been pursuing a  career in nursing and were student nurses, but sadly contracted breast cancer and passed away. Now  Ashleigh wants to fulfil her dream of becoming a nurse in their memory. “I know this is a challenging career to get into and I’m really proud of myself,” she says. “It’s really rewarding being here.”
 
My Apprenticeship has given me… 
a sense of pride
a route out of unemployment
the confidence to follow my ambition.
 
What Apprenticeships mean to our Trust…
“Apprenticeships offer us a complete framework to support our staff on many different levels – from competency in the workplace to literacy, numeracy and other transferrable skills. In one respect, Apprenticeships are a great boost to morale, providing a real sense of achievement and helping to open doors to new roles and higher learning. They also translate directly to a better level of patient care, so that the community we work in can be confident in the skills and commitment we have in place to look after its needs.”

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