Get an insight into the experience and career journey of our brilliant admin apprentice Sonia Cardezo
Name: Sonia Cardozo
Job title: Apprentice Patient Access Coordinator
Apprenticeship programme and level: Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Business and Administration
How did you hear about the apprenticeship programme?
I was at the end of my Level 2 Business and Administration apprenticeship at a GP surgery via Hawk Training and during one of my reviews whereby my tutor had mentioned to me about the successful apprenticeship programme that runs at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust.
What led you to do an apprenticeship?
When I came over to the UK, my plan seemed clear that I would be going into university for a medical degree whilst working part time. However, my financial status and not being eligible for a loan at that time challenged this dream. I started looking for other alternatives for my career path; that’s when I came across apprenticeships and I absolutely loved the idea of working and earning as well as the concept of learning on the job and studying towards to a qualification.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship with Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust?
I had heard a lot of positives from my tutor in the way the apprenticeships programme ran at GSTT, the support and opportunities delivered during the journey that really drew me into applying. I also wanted to be a part of such a renowned organisation where values matter and patient care is at its forefront.
How did you find your apprenticeship journey?
I found my apprenticeship journey really valuable. My placement began with an induction, followed by a week of training on the use of trust systems and understanding the patient pathway within the NHS. I started off from the basics i.e. working in reception. I also had an assigned buddy to help me learn on the job. Once I was confident in performing the reception tasks, I got the opportunity to move around and cover other reception areas within the department. I also undertook experience of working in back office administrative roles as well as being at the fore front by coordinating clinics. I also got the chance of showcasing my IT skills by undertaking service improvement during my apprenticeship. I found the study days held every 2 weeks by the tutors really beneficial in being on top of my coursework. All of these experiences helped: gain valuable skills, shape me as an individual, and discover my potential and progress in my career with in the trust.
What benefits did the apprenticeship offer you?
One of the major highlights during my apprenticeship was being able to be a part of the National Apprenticeship Week 2018 in the ‘Back to the Floor’ event. I got the opportunity to meet with the Director of Operations for Essentia services. Also, I was an advocate for apprenticeships by being asked to attend a high-profile Business Planning event with senior leadership teams, including the Director of Workforce. I was invited and attended ‘the apprentice forum’ in July 2018. I also got the opportunity of working with other apprentices in the cohort of planning and executing our graduation event.
What three things do you like about the programme?
- The study day workshops that ran every fortnightly with the tutors and the rest of the apprentices in the cohort
- Opportunities to participate in trust events and showcase our apprenticeship journey
- How the programme ended with a successful graduation event attended by our managers, family members and tutors that enabled us to celebrate our achievements
Would you recommend apprenticeships and why?
What better pathway could I choose than an apprenticeship? I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone seeking to kick start their career, gain both a salary and a qualification, and the best thing is without incurring any debt. Apprenticeships have proven to be a great ladder for individuals who are passionate and want to move up in their respective fields. They open doors to participate and represent yourself, your team, department, employer, on amazing platforms such as the National Apprenticeship Awards and Asian Apprenticeship Awards. I truly feel the warmth of accomplishment. All thanks to apprenticeships and all the people who support and work hard to make it successful.