Our Learner of the Month for February is Sue Long, a Transformation Project Officer at Lincolnshire Community Health NHS Trust, and is currently undertaking a Level 4 Associate Project Management apprenticeship.
Sue Long with line manager Alison Stringfellow outside the Lincolsnhire Community Health Services
Sue was nominated by Skills Coach, Chris Brown, who noted, “Sue continues to learn and develop not only in the classroom, but in the workplace. Sue takes responsibility for her own learning and opportunities within the standards she is working towards, inspiring others to follow in the high standard that she sets herself.”
Lincolnshire Community Health Services Trust (LCHS) deliver a wide range of community healthcare services across Lincolnshire, enabling patients and families to access care and support at, or as close to, home as possible. Rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, they work in partnership with other providers within both health and social care helping people to maintain independent lifestyles for as long as they can.
Sue caught up with us recently to discuss how she has been finding the apprenticeship: “After the opportunity was raised in a meeting with our Apprenticeships Manager I decided to undertake the programme as I felt that this would provide some stretch and challenge in my current role. Prior to my current role, I hadn’t worked within the NHS before, and they are very specific in the way that they manage projects so I knew that the apprenticeship would give me a better understanding of my organisation.
“As a Transformation Project Officer, I am part of the Transformation Team, which also comprises Senior Project Managers and Implementation Leads. At any time in the year I am associated with the Project Managers, in largely a support role. Since starting the apprenticeship my line manager has been giving me more responsibility and I get more involved in Project work. I’ve now been working on my own to implement a project with a matron in another department. This has been a case of seeing a project right from the procurement side, through the tendering process, and into the implementation and quality checking, and then rolling out the project, which went live on the 1st of February.
“The training has been really good, because there are two sides of the training: the blended learning with the exam process, and the portfolio management. The portfolio management has been easily manageable as I can use my day-to-day role as evidence. I originally thought that the apprenticeship was going to very time consuming, but actually I think it’s been fine! I find it so interesting that it gives me motivation to go that extra mile and add your work to the portfolio. When I’ve previously had to build portfolios it has all been paper-based, but I’ve found that OneFile is very motivating – I’ve had quite a long break from learning but coming back to it now and using an electronic portfolio and the VLE has been brilliant.
“I decided to undertake the training to strengthen my position as a Project Officer, and it gives me more opportunity to progress within my role. I certainly have gained some Project Management skills and procedures. Some of the modules have been a little challenging given the amount of technical terminology, but nothing insurmountable, and again this has furthered my knowledge in the area of Project Management.”
“I have really enjoyed the blended learning element of delivery, the workshops from my trainers have been brilliant and with the addition of the exam workshops this has been really suited to my style of learning.”
“I would definitely recommend the training; I have actually already shared information about the apprenticeship within my organisation, especially to colleagues who might be looking to progress as the APM apprenticeship offers lots of transferable skills and a qualification that can strengthen CVs.”
Sue’s line manager, Alison Stringfellow, a Project Manager within the Transformation Team, told us, “Sue is an absolute asset to the Transformation Team within LCHS, a valued staff member and great support to me. Since Sue commenced her apprenticeship, Sue has focussed both on supporting and delivering projects independently and working in tandem with myself to drive the organisation’s projects forward, applying and testing out her new knowledge. She has also shared her learning with the Team and within the organisation which has been of great benefit”.
Alison added, “Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust is a registered Employer Provider of Apprentices. Our Trust recognises and prides ourselves on the investment and development of our staff at all levels to ensure that the patient/staff experience is maximised. We have an appointed Apprentice Lead who manages the Levy account on behalf of the Trust in keeping with the philosophy that apprenticeships are open opportunities for staff and services. The Trust maximises its levy account through the use of its own Apprenticeship Centre for both intermediate and advanced apprenticeships. Where the apprenticeship is not delivered by the Trust, it uses a simple process of fair procurement/selection of outside providers to offer the apprenticeship on their behalf”.
We’re pleased to hear that Sue’s apprenticeship experience has been so positive, and has brought value not only to herself but also to her organisation. We wish her all the best with the remainder of the apprenticeship.
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