A former drama student has revealed how caring for her mum when she was growing up in Islington inspired her to pursue a new role in healthcare.
Sharney Boakye-Yiadom, 26, began a Healthcare Assistant Level 2 Apprenticeship with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and Capital City College Training (CCCT) in May.
“My mum was placed in a children’s home when she was 14 because she had no family to support her. Growing up I saw how this had affected her emotionally,” said Sharney.
“I would reassure her and encourage her to not to let the past define her. That closeness gave her a lot of comfort and happiness through the years, which made me want to help others as well.”
Becoming a Healthcare apprentice
Sharney studied Performing Arts at Westminster Kingsway College when she left school and went on to graduate with a BA (Hons) Drama Studies from the University of Northampton.
She said: “From secondary school to university everything I did in my life was about performing arts, but when COVID hit I began thinking about what other things I could do.”
Sharney began volunteering and was employed as a Care Mentor for Sister System, a charity in Tottenham helping girls in care, before working for Graceful Care in Ealing.
“I’ve always been a people person. I like talking to people and began mentoring young women in care. I started to build a rapport with them, finding out about their mental health and how they’re feeling and helping them in their daily lives,” she said.
“I began to think about how I can support someone, what purpose I can bring to them and how I can shine a light on them. It was then that I thought maybe there’s something health related I could do.”
Sharney gained a place on her apprenticeship after taking part in the Prince’s Trust’s Get Into programme, which helps young people aged 16-30 secure jobs in various job sectors.
CCCT works with the Trust to run a 15-day programme providing basic certified training to work in the healthcare sector, as well as employability skills including CV writing, job applications and interviews with employers.
Representing at NHS careers and training conference
Last month Sharney shared her apprenticeship at an NHS careers and training conference hosted by CCCT attended by representatives from healthcare, education and local government.
At the event, Laura Horton, Senior Head of Operations at the Prince’s Trust, explained more about Get Into and the Trust’s careers advice programme for young people aged 16-30.
She said: “We’re really passionate about getting our young people in front of an employer at the end of the programme, as some of them haven’t been able to get through traditional routes of NHS employment.
“We have a really fantastic success rate with 90 per cent of the young people who completed these programmes going on to get offers. We put this is down to that extra bit of prep at the start, so they fully understand what they’re going into and feel supported.”
The conference also included a talk by Jennie Stone, Apprenticeship Relationship Manager at Healthcare Education England, on the recruitment, upskilling and skills gaps facing the NHS.
She explained that the demand for NHS services was rising and a lack of funding had led to a reduction in services and Trusts were struggling to recruit and retain staff.
She said: “There is a wide range of apprenticeships including higher and degree level apprenticeships. Not only can they support the NHS address skills shortages, but they are an excellent means of attracting new talent, developing and upskilling existing staff and retaining the workforce within the NHS.”
Rachel Roberts, Programme Manager for Skills and Employment at the Greater London Authority explained more about the Mayor of London Academy’s programme to help those hardest hit by the pandemic get into work to help London’s economic recovery.
At the conference at WestKing’s Victoria Centre, speakers and guests took part in workshops looking at the recruitment challenges, skills gaps and upskilling in the healthcare sector.
Jackie Chapman, Managing Director of CCCT, said: “The thing I like most about my job is hearing from people like Sharney. We come across so many people who just don’t know what their options are, or how to access support.
“Our staff make a real difference to people’s lives every day by helping them understand the various routes available to get their dream job. It is not always a straight path, but you just have to be willing to make the journey to succeed.”
If you’re interested in working in the NHS, CCCT offers a range of healthcare and business administration apprenticeship within the health service. Apprenticeships are paid jobs that are open to all ages and typically involve four days at work and one day of study a week, so you will be earning while you are learning. Apply now.