Former GWH apprentice wins top award

A former apprentice at the Great Western Hospital has received the Higher Apprentice of the Year award at the Health Education England (HEE) awards in Taunton, Somerset.

Louise Steer was nominated by teams at Swindon College and GWH for the prestigious award, which celebrates exceptional students who have undertaken university degree-level apprenticeships.

Louise, 32, began an apprenticeship at Swindon College in 2015, studying for a foundation degree in Health and Social Care whilst working part-time as a Health Care Assistant at the hospital.

She said: “I had an email to say I was in the final but I didn’t think I was going to win – it’s all a bit of a shock.

“My apprenticeship was really good; if anyone is thinking about doing one I would say ‘go for it’.

“Swindon College were really supportive and they work closely with the hospital; I can’t fault the support I’ve had from everyone on the ward.”

Louise now works as an assistant practitioner on GWH’s Meldon Ward, which specialises in bowel cancer operations, smaller gastroenterology operations and routine Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery.

The assistant practitioner job is varied and combines clinical and leadership skills to help wards and services deliver high-quality patient care.

The Trust’s Chief Nurse Hilary Walker gave her personal congratulations for the award, saying that she hopes that Louise can be an ambassador for the role.

Annie Gough, the ward manager who nominated Louise, said: “She is a credit to the team, when we are really pushed that’s when she comes into her own.

“She works to such a high standard all the time – she’s fabulous.”

Find out more about the national apprenticeships scheme at, or apprenticeships at Swindon College at

People looking to join the Trust can find current vacancies online using the NHS Jobs website,