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Christopher Hallam - Level 5 Nursing Associate

Christopher Hallam, pictured on our NTU Mansfield campus, is one of our level 5 Nursing Associate apprentices working for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. As an adult in full-time work, Christopher felt restricted when it came to enhancing his career through higher education institutions. Christopher mentions what stands out about NTU is the “wealth of knowledge and support that the course lecturers have”.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

"I have always wanted to go further with my career but as a mature adult I always worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford being out of work. Being a full-time student without a source of income high enough to meet my home needs wouldn’t have been possible. Being an apprentice means that I can advance my career with the full support of my employer, study at Nottingham Trent University, and get paid for doing so."

Why did you choose to study at NTU?

"The apprenticeship was advertised as a partnership between my employer and this university. However, I have had friends and colleagues that have studied with NTU and have had fabulous experiences. The support they have received and how far they have become as individuals, personally and academically, is phenomenal. I’m pleased that we are studying with NTU."

How do you believe this apprenticeship will affect both your current job role and future career?

"Being a Nursing Associate apprentice brings the best of both worlds. It allows you the joy of being a student in a fantastic health sciences division and also allows you to continue professional development through working in a clinical area. This in turn allows you to develop on the job whilst being paid. I am getting great support from my employer and being given opportunities I wasn’t able to do within my scope of practice before."

How would you rate the teaching and support staff on this apprenticeship?

"From the off-set the support has been second to none. All of our tutors have a background in Nursing and bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences from all backgrounds. Staff are always there to support when you need it and have lots of useful contacts and resources to help you along the way. You will never be left to struggle alone."

It gives you confidence, improves self-esteem and really boosts employability in whichever area you choose to work.

What do you think of the facilities available at NTU?

"At NTU there is something for everyone. Whether it be course related, enrichment related or just general support with your academic work. The online course rooms are very useful for back-tracking on what you have covered so you never fall behind. There is the library team and academic support assistants that are also fantastic in helping you get to where you need to be."

How have you balanced studying alongside your professional role? How have you found the support from your employer?

"It’s tough, but it’s certainly achievable when you put your mind to it. Attending all of your lectures and making good use of the online resources allows you to plan your time effectively. Your employer comes to an agreement with NTU to support you in your needs and I certainly have been lucky to receive lots of support in terms of learning experiences and being given adequate time to be able to get my academic work done."

What advice would you give to someone considering a higher/degree apprenticeship?

"Do it! It is a really good way of enhancing yourself. It gives you confidence, improves self-esteem and really boosts employability in whichever area you choose to work. Nobody ever says that taking on an academic course is easy but the results are worth it. That euphoric feeling of passing your assignments keeps you going. You will not fail if you work hard, aim high and take all the support you can get!"

To learn more about our apprenticeship courses, please contact apprenticeships@ntu.ac.uk.

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