Real-life story - Lucy Clare

Lucy loves working in the NHS and has worked her way up through level 2 and level 4 apprenticeships. She now has her sights set on a degree apprenticeship in management.  

Lucy Clare
Lucy Clare National programme coordinator, Talent for Care
Employer or university Health Education England
Salary range £20k-£30k

How I got into the apprenticeship

I started with Health Education England (HEE) in 2015 in an administration level 2 apprenticeship role in one of HEE’s local teams. 

As I was coming to the end of my level 2, I knew I wanted to stay within the NHS and preferably at HEE, so I applied for a band 4 vacancy in the *Talent for Care team. Although it was still based in the east of England, it was a national role involving more travel to meetings.  

I then started on the level 4 business admin apprenticeship with my new team and am just coming to the end of that course. It’s really widened my knowledge and understanding of business functions, roles and responsibilities and how projects and programmes work.  

Last year, two of us in the team who’d progressed as apprentices were promoted from band 4 to band 5 roles. I was very proud of that huge achievement and it was great to have the recognition.  

*Talent for Care aims to help people Get Ready, Get In, Get On and Go Further in their careers in the NHS.

What I do

Day to day I support a range of national workstreams, which includes attending meetings, taking formal minutes to be circulated, or coordinating the quarterly national Talent for Care data collection. That involves amalgamating a large amount of data and turning it into a presentable and useful report. I also provide data for the HEE executive team and the Department of Health and Social Care.

I have been managing another member of staff for the past year, and I am currently helping another HEE team organise an event for later this year. It involves contacting speakers, making a checklist and event plan, and sorting a venue.

The best bits and challenges

One week to the next is never the same, which I love! Being part of a national team means I travel around for various meetings and events. I particularly enjoy organising and managing events, and I hope to do more of that in future.  

I have had so many amazing opportunities since working for the NHS! I’ve gained a project management qualification; become a line manager; attended a GP fellowship conference; attended events to hear inspirational speakers and young people talk about working on the front line; met the minister of state for health; and had the opportunity to work on national workstreams for HEE. 

Of course, not every day is like this and most of the time I’m office-based. But I enjoy that too as I care about my work, and it balances out the extra exciting days! 

Life outside work

Outside of work I like to keep active and try to do some form of exercise four to five times a week, even if it is only for half an hour! Sitting in an office most of my time means it important to stay physically active in my spare time and look after my health. I have also recently passed my driving test, so am enjoying the freedom of being independent!

Career plans and top tips for others

Once I have the final sign off on my level 4 business admin apprenticeship, I plan to complete the level 6 chartered manager degree apprenticeship with a local university. My employer has already been supporting me with this which is fantastic. I’m looking forward to developing my knowledge of business and learning more about management in business, and I’m pleased to be staying within the NHS. 

I think it’s important to have passion for whatever you’re working on, whether that’s equality and diversity, accounting, finance or events. And you need to show loyalty and dedication.  

I don’t see my role as just a job; it’s a career that I’m dedicated to building and I see no boundaries to where I can progress to. The apprenticeship pathways have been an amazing way to work and earn money while gaining qualifications and learning on the job from experienced people.  

In my career so far, I’ve been motivated by the people around me and two people particularly stand out. I hope to always have the same passion for my job as they have for theirs. 

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