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James Smith is working as a Level 2 business administration apprentice at the Royal United Hospitals Bath. He’s working in the hospital’s Quality Improvement Centre and finishes his apprenticeship at the end of May. This month, he spoke to us about his experience so far.
Can you tell me about working at the hospital and what you do as an apprentice?
The Quality Improvement Centre is all about patient experience and health and safety – it looks at how accidents can be prevented. Today my main job is printing papers and organising them for my deputy manager.
I also deliver medical records to staff and I do a lot of scanning and filing. I’ve sat in on four or five meetings and I’ll be doing this again before I finish. I used to work in an elderly care home, so I know what it’s like to work in a care-based environment. I don’t deal with this day to day, but when I see a patient I try and help them.

What do you enjoy about your apprenticeship and what have you learnt?
I’ve learnt that this is definitely the career I want to be in. Data inputting is the most enjoyable thing about my job, I enjoy adding things to databases.
As part of my coursework, I’ve had to talk about understanding communications, managing myself, e-mails, meetings and health and safety, as well as producing documents and managing diary systems. We have to write about all our practical work.
I’ve grown in confidence because my apprenticeship has given me a lot more to talk about in an interview and I’ve grown up a lot (in terms of trying to decide what suits me and what I have to do to get a job). No-one else can decide this for me, it’s something I have to be proactive about.

Why did you choose to study as an apprentice?
I did level 2 public services at Bath College and then travel and tourism. I was searching for a job and I found this apprenticeship after leaving college.
It’s definitely better because you’re getting a qualification and earning money at the same time. I don’t have to work part-time at the weekend and I get social time with people outside of work. I went to college because, at first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career. That’s what a lot of people do and then (when they feel it’s right) they start an apprenticeship.
What’s the next step for you?
If I found a level 3 apprenticeship I would definitely stick to that, and if not, I’m thinking about university. Otherwise, I’ll look for a job if there’s a good progression route.
Do you have any advice for someone considering an apprenticeship?
I would say do an apprenticeship and don’t leave it too late. If you’re not sure what you want to do, get some work experience first. Think about what you want to see yourself doing and find an apprenticeship that’s right for you.

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