When I joined Young Healthwatch in October 2018 my aim was to gain experience in medicine and healthcare – I could never have imagined where it would get me to today.
In March 2019 I started to realise that A-levels were not for me. However, I had no idea what I could do instead, until, by complete coincidence, the idea of an apprenticeship was explained to me. So, on the way back from school I immediately started to search for one. Eventually I found one apprenticeship that stood out… An apprentice Quality Control Scientist at Cancer Research UK.
I filled out the application and a question came up, ‘what experience do you have of volunteering’, without Young Healthwatch my journey may well have stopped here. Instead I wrote, in length, about my experiences of the last 6 months and all I had learnt. Two weeks later I received an email asking for me to attend an interview in South Mimms. So, at 16 I was driven to the Biotherapeutics Development Unit for my first ever job interview!
It went well, I was asked many questions in relation to my volunteering experience and the skills I had gained from it. These included:
- Understanding of health issues
- Report writing and more
Three weeks later I received a phone call notifying me that, although I was younger than Cancer research had been searching for, they had offered me the apprenticeship. So in late April I started at Cancer Research UK.
I have now been working at Cancer Research for a year and have been a part of the quality testing of three Stage 2 clinical trials, with the aim to help cancer patients. I have received an ‘Excellent’ in my recent performance review, and have started to train other member of staff in various areas of quality control.
I have also been very lucky to make great friends, one of which being the manager who interviewed me in 2019. I asked her why she had chosen me and aside from my GCSE’s the other main factor in my selection was my volunteering experience and the passion with which I spoke about it.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Young Healthwatch, and Amy, for allowing me all the opportunities that have been presented and making me feel a welcome member of the group, I would not be in the position I am now without them.