How an apprenticeship built Gregory's confidence

  • Date

    Tue 8 Feb 22

a portrait of Gregory Killgallen

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and showcase the apprenticeships available at Essex, we asked graduate apprentice Gregory Kilgallen to tell his journey that took him back into education and improve lives as a Healthcare Support Worker.

Health Care Support Worker

I work in the Maldon district nursing team within Provide.

I have been working as a health care support worker for two years.

I am currently studying the Higher Apprenticeship with Foundation Degree in Health Science at The University of Essex.

The course covers several topics within healthcare and provides me with a greater understanding of my practice and has helped me make a real difference for my patients.

I started my journey started in October 2020.

This course runs for two years.

After I have finished this course I plan to complete my nursing training and this will take me another two years.

Why I am on an apprenticeship

I had previously been to university and struggled to adapt to the lifestyle.

I was far away from friends and family and decided to finish my studies after one year.

I knew that to progress within healthcare I needed a degree, but going back to university full time did not appeal to me as I was used to working and could not afford to go back.

I believe that I have reached the limits of what I can do as a health care support worker and want to expand my competence.

This course offered me the perfect opportunity to study at a university near me and still earn a salary at the same time.

I have always wanted to help others.

This course has helped me to support my patients and improve my confidence in my clinical practice. I was encouraged by my colleagues to become an apprentice.

Once I am fully qualified I will have more opportunities to further improve my clinical practice.

Within healthcare, it is very difficult to progress without appropriate qualifications.

At this time I am still in the current role I was in when I started this course.

Once I have completed the course I can become a fully qualified nurse.

Through this course, I have become more confident in my abilities.

I am often asked by those around me for advice.

In the past, I would suggest they spoke to others.

Now I have the knowledge to answer most questions and help others where possible.

Once I have completed my four years I will be able to practice as a nurse.


Making a real difference

Being able to make more of a difference for my patients is by far the most rewarding part.

I am now able to complete an in-depth holistic assessment and look at the patient as a whole, not just for the reason I am due to visit.

I once visited a patient for wound care.

During the visit, he told me that he had not been able to get outside due to the stairs and I referred him to the occupational therapist who was able to install a ramp.

The patient was very grateful for my help and seemed a lot happier as a result.

My confidence has grown considerably from this course. I believe in myself more and am looking forward to progressing further.


Take the leap

I would tell prospective apprentices that although it can be very nerve-wracking going back into education it is never as bad as you think.

It is a worse feeling than if you decided not to do the apprenticeship and regret it later on.

The university offers great support and will do its utmost to help you get through the course.

Whilst it does take a lot of hard work and determination, it is well worth the reward.

With the increasing difficulty in recruiting nurses, supporting those within your service is becoming an increasingly appealing solution to this problem.

Employers have the opportunity to help their staff progress and help fill the gap.