National Apprenticeship Week – A Level 5 Apprenticeship in HR has been inspiring for John Norton

Not only has he gained new skills and knowledge to progress his career, but it has also opened up exciting possibilities for the future.

Level 5 HR Apprentice John Norton

Tell us about your role

I currently work as the Divisional Recruitment and Retention Lead for Specialist Services at University Hospital Southampton (UHS).  I look after the majority of the recruitment for four specialties (Radiology, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Neuroscience, and Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgery) with a main focus on nursing and allied health professions. I joined UHS in 2013 as an HR recruitment Administrator and I have progressed since.

What is your previous career experience?

I have previously worked in various administrative roles in the NHS while studying for a law degree in the evenings.  On completion, I decided not to pursue a legal career but to branch out and follow a career in HR where my degree would be useful.

What prompted you to become an apprentice?

As an apprentice, the majority of the learning is done on the job which I found appealing. Also working for a levy paying organisation meant the apprenticeship could be fully funded.

What is your experience of the programme?

I have nothing but positive things to say about my apprenticeship. It has been absolutely brilliant. My adviser Evelyn Thurley and all the webinar tutors are exceptional. I have been out of education for a long time, but Evelyn has always been supportive and accessible.  Her guidance and support are invaluable. Watson Martin’s VLE is very user friendly and has links to all the resources I need. I am just about to complete my CIPD Level 5 qualification and I’m on track to finish the apprenticeship at the end of March.

How do you manage the 20% off-the-job studying time?

My line manager has been very supportive. I have one day a week dedicated to the 20%. As I work autonomously, I found this approach most practical.

What new skills and knowledge have you developed to support your role?

The programme has enabled me to have a better understanding of people practice, business acumen and evidence based practice.

Has the apprenticeship improved your work?

I measure this question in terms of the feedback I have received from other colleagues and management which has been very positive.

What are your ultimate career aims?

I have a passion for community engagement and empowerment. I freelance as a community engagement officer and the apprenticeship has been useful in strengthening core knowledge and behaviours.

What is your top tip to others thinking about starting an HR or L&D apprenticeship programme?

Just do it! Watson Martin’s apprenticeship programme has been inspiring. It has opened my mind to other opportunities and has been a real gamechanger. Evelyn is always reminding me to reflect on everything so I can learn from today what I can improve tomorrow.  I don’t know what the future holds but I am very glad I did it!

Inspired by John’s story? Progress your career by enrolling on an apprenticeship programme with Watson Martin today!