My name is Molly and I recently joined Virgin Care as a PR Executive whilst also studying a Level 4 PR and Communications Assistant apprenticeship with the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA). Last year, I completed my A Levels in History, Politics and Drama and Theatre Studies. After finishing sixth form, I knew that I wanted to write, but it was clear to me that university wasn’t the right path for me, (to be honest the idea of three more years of studying and exam-sitting was completely unappealing). So, I starting browsing job sites and uploading my CV everywhere, but nothing seemed to fit what I was looking for. I wanted something challenging, something that I haven’t done before and something that would push me out of my comfort zone. It was then that I started looking for apprenticeships, I would have the opportunity to learn on the job but also study for a widely recognised qualification, equivalent to a foundation degree, at the same time.
After sifting through the thousands of apprenticeships available on gov.uk, I stumbled across an advert for a PR Executive at Virgin Care, with the opportunity to spend 20 per cent of the working week studying towards the Public Relations Assistant Apprenticeship Standard through the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA). I was immediately attracted to this position, it would allow me to work full time hours, start earning and consequently saving for my future. In addition, I would also be able to continue studying part-time over an 18 month period for an excellent qualification that I want to pursue a career in.
Moreover, I was extremely interested in writing about healthcare, I read up a lot about Virgin Care prior to applying and learnt about all of the great and innovative work they do for the benefit of their service users. I applied for the job and I was successful, now I am so lucky to be able to say that I love my job, the work and the people that I’m surrounded by every day. Virgin Care is a really interesting company with an incredible mission to work in partnership with the NHS and local authorities helping to run and transform services, bringing about improvement where needed and ensure they are ready for increased future demands. The Virgin Group has invested more than £60 million into Virgin Care services including on doctors, nurses and Allied Health Professionals. And its shareholder, Sir Richard Branson, has publicly vowed that (over and above that initial investment) he will not take any money out of the company if and when it begins to see a profit. Instead, any future profit will all be reinvested back into the services Virgin Care provides with frontline colleagues deciding how. This puts out a really strong, positive message of the company’s commitment and dedication to our country’s healthcare system.
Eighty percent of my week consists of working on Virgin Care projects, some of my tasks include writing case studies, social media posts, blogs, press releases and articles. My writing is focused around showcasing all of the amazing work that our organisation does, so when I see a positive piece on social media or in the press that celebrates Virgin Care, I feel so proud to work here. I’m also surrounded by some fantastic individuals that have worked in both the healthcare and PR industries for a number of years so the support that I have in undertaking this new journey is exceptional.
The other 20 per cent of my week is dedicated to my qualification and after 18 months I will receive a Level 4 Diploma in Public Relations (hopefully!) I am assessed over the months in a variety of ways, from projects to knowledge tests, reviews, personal statements and presentations. There are also supporting webinars for each unit, so I have loads of resources to guide me.
Excitingly, I am currently working with my team to produce some information relating to national apprenticeship week and what kind of varied opportunities that Virgin Care offer, such as apprenticeships in customer services, social work, recruitment, business administration, leadership, nursing and assistant practitioner. Obviously, this is what gave me the idea to write this blog.
Overall, I would say the company’s passion for delivering high quality care to make a significant difference to the lives of others means I know I’m doing a job that matters.
National Apprenticeship week is focused around firing up the conversation surrounding apprenticeships and engaging as many people as possible, teaching the importance and value of apprenticeships. Follow the discussion on Facebook and Twitter this week by searching #LookBeyond and #NAW2020.
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Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”
For this year’s National Apprenticeship week Sarah talks us through the challenges that learners have faced this year, and the benefits of apprenticeships for both the learners and their organisations.
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