NHS Property Services (NHSPS) has been encouraging others to embrace lifelong learning and to explore opportunities available during ‘Learning at Work Week’.
The premise of 2023’s Learning at Work Week, ‘Create the Future’, shone a spotlight on how lifelong learning at work helps individuals achieve goals, shape lives, communities, and the world.
NHSPS has gathered case studies from colleagues who have taken part in learning at work to discover what they’ve done, how it has helped them and why they believe learning at work is vital.
Take Mike Walmsley, a Maintenance Technician (Refrigeration) based in Devon. He joined NHSPS in 2019 and is completing his Level 3 Installation Electrician/Maintenance Electrician apprenticeship.
Mike said: “I am now in my second year of this course, and it has allowed me to refresh skills that I learnt in my original training, along with learning the more up-to-date theory and how to put this into practice. Following the completion of this course, it will hopefully allow me to gain further electrical qualifications in renewable energy and grow with NHSPS for future projects to cut our carbon footprint.”
Mike has done so well that he recently won a Plumbing and Electrical Apprentice of the Year award at South Devon College.
South Devon College Principle and CEO Laurence Frewin presented the accolade. He noted that Mike was hard-working and dedicated to the apprenticeship – and consistently produced high-quality work.
Meanwhile, Shelley Denton is an Apprentice Maintenance Technician (Refrigeration) based in the North West. She says she’s delighted with how much she’s learnt while working at NHS Property Services.
“When I started with NHSPS in August 2022, I had very little knowledge of plumbing and hard facilities management. Now, well into my first year as an apprentice, I have been taught so much, which is not just used at work but also at home.
“I am often handed the tools and get stuck in, and if I do make a mistake, my mentors are patient with me and put me back on track without any pressure, showing me other methods to help with similar jobs in the future.”
She continued: “I believe an apprenticeship is an excellent way to learn, as I find it easier to apply what I’ve learnt after seeing it first-hand rather than from a book. It has also helped with my confidence.
“There are different methods of learning at NHSPS, such as webinars and on the Learning Zone area of NHSPS’ intranet. I am encouraged to keep learning new things and to develop my skillset, not always in hard facilities management, but in my personal development, too. For instance, I’ve even been taught how to handle confrontation.”
Shelley added: “I’m looking forward to developing myself and furthering my career with NHSPS, and eventually becoming a fully qualified maintenance technician by the end of my apprenticeship.”
Suzanne Jones, Head of Learning and Development at NHSPS, said: We are always learning, and Learning at Work Week is an ideal opportunity to challenge yourself, gain a fresh perspective and enhance your productivity. You can do this by networking, team building and engaging with others who will support you to add to your skills and knowledge.
“At NHSPS, we enable access to all sorts of learning through the organisation’s Learning Zone”, explained Suzanne. “Since we ushered in the system on the NHSPS intranet, we’ve seen thousands of colleagues access it. Whilst the mandatory modules were the most viewed, other topics have proved popular, particularly those relating to performance and leadership skills.
“Learning through the Learning Zone isn’t the only way NHSPS colleagues learn at work, though. Other opportunities include participating in a project in or outside your normal team, delivering a training session, acting as a buddy or mentor, taking part in a volunteering activity or completing a professional qualification such as an apprenticeship.”
Suzanne added: “There are other subtle ways to learn, too – listening to others, being curious, not being afraid to ask questions, researching, or having a role model. But, one thing’s for sure; you’re never too old to learn – and, importantly, learning never stops.”
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