Airedale Apprenticeships blaze a trail

Posted on March 5, 2019 by AireAdmin

Airedale Hospital is supporting National Apprenticeships Week by sharing the success stories of one of its apprentices, showing how they are blazing a trail and supporting young people to find a career.

20 year old James Fielden from Settle started as an apprentice at the trust in July 2017 from Keighley College and his first placement was as a healthcare support worker on ward 1.  James struggled with the kind of work he was being asked to do and so the trust worked with him to find a solution and as a result James is now happy and working well in a new apprenticeship in Pharmacy.

With help from the senior sister and ward staff, employee health and wellbeing, and the clinical skills team, James was assessed and received a diagnosis of autism, and started a new role in pharmacy – a role much more suited to him. The change in role to ensure James had a routine work pattern had helped him enormously and he is very happy in his work.

Michael Smith, Head of Employee Health and Wellbeing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:

“When staff told us that something wasn’t right and he was struggling, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t capable, that’s the point where we had an opportunity to do something different for him and provide the support he needed.”

Mum Jan Fielden-Pout says:

“He struggled because of his autism that was undiagnosed then and the hospital went to great lengths to sort this out for him, and then the apprenticeship came up at the pharmacy, it just rocks his boat and he’s really happy there.  He’s very conscientious about it all.  It’s just how his brain ticks, because it’s a routine and he knows what to expect.  The pace of it doesn’t seem to bother him and he’s very content there.”

James says:

“I really enjoy being an apprentice in the pharmacy department – it’s like a big family and everyone works well together.

“Apprenticeships are a good way into the workplace, and it means I also have the option of training to do different things in the future. I started off doing a different apprenticeship, but my skills are much more suited to the pharmacy environment, and I feel confident in what I’m doing.

“Airedale is a great place to work as it is really homely, and everyone knows each other. I love cycling, and I’ve joined the Airedale Spokes cycling club which is made up of different colleagues from across the Trust – it’s a great way to meet new people.”

Apprentices get hands on experience, learn job-specific skills, earn a salary, along with the opportunity to gain qualifications while they work. Airedale NHS Foundation Trust offers apprenticeships in a wide range of departments which are advertised at when opportunities arise and include for example clinical coder, Procurement Administrative Assistant, Pharmacy Technician and Human Resources Administration.

The Trust also has a regular recruitment programme for Apprentice Health Care Support Workers (HCSWs). Recruitment to these posts will be in small groups, two to three times each year.  For further information go to