Forest Medical

APPRENTICESHIPS ARE NOT ONLY GOOD FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL, BUT AS AN EMPLOYER YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAILOR THEIR NEW SKILLS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE BUSINESS.

A Mansfield-based medical group says apprenticeships are enabling it to cope with increasing demands on the business by strengthening its workforce.

Forest Medical Group, which formed in 2014 following the merger of Rosemary Street Health Centre and Oak Tree Lane Surgery, employs more than 40 members of staff including GPs, nurse practitioners, secretaries, receptionists and administration staff.

It recently took on three Level 2 Customer Service apprentice receptionists through Vision Apprentices, with two having now completed their training and securing permanent positions.

Senior receptionist Hayley Pattison, who manages the apprentices, said: “It’s the first time we’ve taken on apprentices through Vision Apprentices, but it’s worked really well. As individuals, each apprentice has been quite different, yet they have their own strengths which fit into a busy practice.”

Beth Alais, 19, from Mansfield, began her apprenticeship last year and has nearly completed her studies.

She said: “I’m learning through coursework as well as learning new things at the surgery and putting those skills straight into practice.

“I answer the phones, handle prescriptions, help patients with their enquiries and I’ve got my own project in the office which I can really put my own stamp on and I enjoy that.”

After completing her apprenticeship, Beth hopes to land a permanent role with the company. Her colleagues Emily Moore, 21, and Trudy Curtis, 39, have both completed their apprenticeships and gone on to secure permanent positions.

Hayley speaks very highly of all three receptionists and the skills they’ve nurtured. She said: “They’re all very different and their individual qualities help make the busy surgeries run smoothly. They’ve learnt so much through their apprenticeships.

“Beth finds the job incredibly rewarding – she loves to solve problems. Trudy has got the wonderful attribute of being a perfectionist – she won’t let anything leave her desk without scrutiny.

“Emily joined as a very shy girl, struggling at first with answering phones and dealing with patients. Although she has Asperger’s, with determination and support from Vision Apprentices, she’s emerged as a confident person who really enjoys working with the public and she’s very thorough in her work from start to finish.”

Emily, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, said: “I’ve really seen a change in myself. From being an apprentice to now a full-time receptionist, I’ve definitely come out of my shell. My tutors were patient with me if I needed them to explain an assignment in another way so that I could understand it.”

Something which Hayley needs in her team is a flexible approach, as working across the two surgeries requires patience and co-operation.

She said: “Our two practices are very different in terms of environment and workload. Emily, Trudy and Beth all have a considerate approach to how they work and adapt their skills depending on which practice they’re at.

“They learnt to apply what they’ve learnt through their assignments and put the theory into practice, so it’s made them have a flexible approach to work.”

Hayley feels her receptionists have been fortunate to get training and support from both Vision Apprentices and work colleagues.

She added: “As an apprentice, you definitely see a job from two sides. Getting support from a manager in the workplace and from tutors at Vision Apprentices is a great combination and helps them to flourish and confidently apply their skills.

“It’s beneficial for a business that has to think on its feet a lot of the time. I know I can rely on my receptionists to use their initiative, which helps me to manage the reception teams across two sites.

“I would definitely recommend other businesses to invest in apprentices. Apprenticeships are not only good for the development of the individual, but as an employer you have the opportunity to tailor their new skills to meet the needs of the business.”

To find out more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice, call us on 0800 121 8317