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How has COVID-19 affected apprenticeships? NAW2021

Rosella Coghlan, Early Childhood Worker
Rosella Coghlan, Early Childhood Worker

This week (8-14 February) is National Apprenticeship week 2021 (NAW2021). The aim of this week is to shine a light on the amazing work apprentices do whilst also recognising the challenges that they have faced during this unprecedented time.

To celebrate NAW2021, we wanted to hear from some of our incredible apprentices at Solent NHS Trust who have continued to do their apprenticeship whilst also working in their current role during the pandemic.

We wanted to find out how COVID-19 has affected apprenticeships and if our apprentices had any advice to give to new starters. We asked them four questions and Rosella Coghlan, Early Childhood Worker, has kindly given us her answers below…

Has the current pandemic impacted your apprenticeship?

All of our lectures have been virtual which has made it tricky to obtain reassurance from lecturers regarding assignments. Additional learning/shadowing hours needed for our apprenticeship has been difficult to obtain due to the lockdown and social distancing measures, because of this the the whole apprenticeship has taken a virtual / E - learning approach. The placements have been delayed but the university has kept us informed which has been really helpful.

I'm on the Trainee Nursing Associate apprenticeship - what a time to begin nurse training! I headed straight into the deep end on my second placement which was on a Covid-19 ward. It was challenging and I was scared at first, but looking back at the past eight weeks, I can now say what a fantastic opportunity it was. To do a large chunk of my first year of being a student nurse in the middle of a pandemic, at the heart of it all was a privilege...I am so grateful for the opportunity to care for our patients and support our NHS!

What have you learnt as a result of the pandemic?

I have learnt how much we reply on internet and technology! But it has enabled the world to continue as best we can. I have also learnt to adapt. This has meant I have still been able to achieve great marks in all my assignments.

And, of course, I have learnt to be extremely brave!

Have there been any changes in your practice as a result of the pandemic?

My workplace adapted its services to work from home. We have changed our practice to accommodate telephone contacts and virtual meetings so we can continue to support and deliver care to our patients. 

What advice can you give to apprentices about to start their programme in the middle of lockdown?

Don't fear technology. It's going to be ok!

You will never have this much time again, so make the most of it! The time to study has been amazing. 

I hope this has been useful for you, my experiences have been heavily affected by COVID-19 and I hope that comes across, especially my placement, but being able to continue has been fantastic, even if it has mostly been online. I’m looking forward to what the future brings and would still encourage anyone to apply for an apprenticeship!

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