Sep 2020 / News

An apprentice theatre assistant from Brynmawr says his apprenticeship has made a real difference as he has worked on the front line during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dylan Williams, 24, had always wanted to work in the health care sector and although he was interested in nursing, he wasn’t sure how he could achieve his goal.

The Welsh Government recently announced a £40m jobs and skills package which will be crucial in incentivising employers to recruit and retain up to 5,000 apprentices, like Dylan.

An apprenticeship at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny is helping him gain new qualifications and progress in his career.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way Dylan has worked and says he was never expecting how vital his role would become in helping the NHS save lives across Wales.

Dylan said: “My apprenticeship has taught me that I can do more than I think I can. It’s been a rocky road, and working during a global pandemic has been intense, but I couldn’t be more proud of where I am today and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

“I loved the thrill of the theatre and the busy shift work was everything that I’d hoped for. I’ve done a bit of everything; welcoming patients as they entered the ward, bringing them into the theatre and helping the scrub nurse to clean and prepare the room.

“As a theatre assistant, there was no progression unless I got my qualifications, so after speaking with a few colleagues, and my manager I enrolled onto a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Clinical Health Care”.

After the first week, Dylan began to doubt his own abilities, but the one to one support given to him whilst completing his apprenticeship meant he was able to pick himself up.

Dylan said: “After looking at the initial bit of coursework a flashback from school hit me, and I didn’t believe that I could do it. I was scared and I wanted to quit. But the support from my manager and my assessor helped me and I haven’t looked back since.

“When I’m working on reception, I’m the first point of contact on the ward, so I need to make sure I’m friendly and able to put patients at ease. Everyone is understandably more cautious about germs and so it’s important in my job that I can provide reassurance and make them feel comfortable.

“I’m learning about infection control, legislations, policy and procedures, and recognising different types of abuse.

“I’ve had to quickly learn about all aspects of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a couple of weeks ago, I also did my first Microsoft Teams call – which was another new skill I can add to the list.

“I’m enjoying every minute of my course and am flying through the work. My assessor has also started talking about me moving onto a Level 3 Apprenticeship, and I can’t wait to progress so that I can work towards my nursing course.”.”

Laura Kingscott, Gynae and CEPOD Sister, Nevill Hall Main Theatre said: “Dylan is progressing really well on his apprenticeship – even with the added pressures that Covid-19 has brought. He was one of the members of staff that was re-deployed to help ease pressure in other wards, where he was helping to wash patients:  something his role wouldn’t normally entail.

“He’s so eager and keen to learn and has remained focused on his course throughout this exceptionally busy couple of months, meaning that he’s much further along his training than expected.”

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales said: “It’s so encouraging to see apprentices like Dylan on the front line working as part of the NHS and doing a great job in challenging times. Coronavirus has had a real impact on our economy, and we need to ensure the next generation are skilled, adaptable and work-ready in order to support our economic recovery.

“That is why we recently announced a significant £40m support package which will be absolutely essential in helping employers to take on and train new workers, including apprentices and young people.

“Apprenticeships continue to play a vital role in delivering the skills employers need. Having this pool of talent will help equip individuals and businesses across Wales with the knowledge and skills needed which will help Wales return to the levels of growth we were seeing before the pandemic.”

If you’re inspired by ‘Dylan’s’ story and think an apprenticeship could be for you, then check out the apprenticeship routes we offer here. At ACT, we deliver a range of qualifications designed to help you upskill in your current role and build a rewarding career. What are you waiting for? Apply now.