From education to employment

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s youngest employee

Alexandra Whittle, 17, of Tyldesley

While some of her friends are off to university this year, one young woman has become Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s (WWL) youngest employee after joining as an apprentice.

Alexandra Whittle, 17, of Tyldesley, joined the WWL’s Communications and PR Department at the beginning of June and will gain a diploma in creative and digital media from Salford College, all while earning a salary.

Alex said: “What better way than getting a diploma is there than earning while I learn? I am very much supported where I work and I am surrounded by people who want me to be the best that I can be and help develop my skills.

“I love working, and have worked from a young age, as I like to be occupied. I worked in a salon at 11 years-old, working my way up to junior hair assistant, and was also in retail from the age of 15. When it came to what I wanted to do after my GCSEs, I didn’t like the idea of sitting in a classroom for six hours a day, as I am very much a get up and go person.”

Alex Youngest Employee 6 resizedAlex added: “The traditional degree route wasn’t for me but I am hoping with my manager’s support to complete my degree whilst working here. I didn’t want the debt of university and lectures don’t appeal to me as I prefer to learn how to do things myself rather than always being in a classroom environment.”

In her free time Alex is a keen photographer and said: “I sell some of my prints when I can and do freelance work. I have some weddings booked for next summer already.

Alex is hopeful that her qualification will help open up the career options available to her in the future and added: “Eventually, I hope to move up in the industry itself, whether that is opening up my own business or becoming a communications officer or manager sometime in the future.

WWL’s Communications and PR Manager, Lorraine Hesketh said: “Alex joining us has been a great learning experience for the rest of the team and we are really pleased to have been given this opportunity to welcome Alex to the WWL family.

“I would certainly encourage other managers to really consider taking on an apprentice, as in the short time Alex has been with us she has really become a valued and well-respected colleague.”

Learning and Development Manager Anne Forrest, who has implemented the apprenticeship programme at WWL, said: “We are really pleased that Alex is finding her apprenticeship so worthwhile.

“Undertaking an apprenticeship is a rewarding experience and can open the doors for young people to gain a foothold in the career of their choice.”

To find out about current apprenticeships available at WWL click here.

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