08/08/2013 08:07 BST

Apprentice Of The Week: NHS Therapy Apprentice Lily Middleton

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Introducing this week’s apprentice..

Name: Lily Middleton

Job Title: Therapy Apprentice

Company: James Paget NHS Hospital

Training: Advanced apprenticeship in allied health professionals


What's a typical day like for you?

No two days are the same when working in health care. Each day I perform different tasks with different patients, from kitchen assessments to mobility practice to neurological screens. Every day there are new patients with problems and aims that need to be met.

What has been the most memorable day of your apprenticeship so far?

A patient who had been on my ward for nearly three months took her first steps, she had came to us unable to even lift her own head and with her hard work and determination we were able to guide her, help her improve her strength, regain her balance and ultimately take her first steps.

Why did you decide to become an apprentice?

I decided to become an apprentice as I was unsure what I wanted to do in the future and wasn’t enjoying collage. As soon as I read the job description I was interested and wanted to find out more, so applied and am so glad that I did.

What are the best things about being an apprentice?

The best thing is having the ability to learn hands on skills along with doing collage work and earning. I don’t know anything else that allows you to do all three. You gain practical skills, qualifications and earn, what more could you want?

What are the best things about working in the industry you work in?

I love working in physiotherapy and occupational therapy as every day is a challenge, the best thing about being on a rehabilitation ward is seeing the patients improve and gain confidence. It is a very rewarding job to be able to help people lead a “normal” lifestyle.

What's the most surprising thing you've learnt during your apprenticeship?

The most surprising thing for me is seeing the difference you can make. If someone said to me you’re going to help this lady walk again and get back to independent living, I would of thought “no way I don’t know what to do”, but within two weeks I was doing exactly that.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?

I would say apply! You have nothing to lose. You will gain learning experience, money and it will prevent you from taking the wrong career turn. By completing an apprenticeship you can go on to other routes like uni or a Higher Apprenticeship. If it is something you enjoy then even better, you have your foot firmly on the career ladder and will have great people around you to guide you to your future goal.

What do you think are the biggest myths about apprenticeships?

The biggest myth for me was what people said before I started, like “enjoy making everyone tea and coffee and getting treating like a no-one”. I can safely say from day one I was treated and respected as part of the team, and to this day have never made anyone tea or coffee, mainly because we don’t have time but that’s because they have me doing more interesting and difficult tasks.

What do you expect to be doing in 10 years time?

I hope to be working as a qualified physiotherapist.

Why an apprenticeship rather than university?

I still plan to go to university but my apprenticeship has made me certain about what I want to do in the future and gave me the experience I need to get to university.

What advice would you give someone leaving school or college now?

I would say to look at what apprenticeships are available. There are so many different companies offering different apprenticeships, so there is bound to be one that grabs your attention and gives you the insight into what you would be doing if you pursued that career, something you can’t get any other way.

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