NHS newcomers make time for Golden Oldies

Rising stars from the Great Western Hospital are set to give something back to the local community when they join pensioners from across the town for a chinwag, sing-song and well-earned cuppa.

 Apprentices from the hospital will be lending a hand, and possibly their voices, at the next meeting of the Golden Oldies at the Coleview Community Centre on Thursday 2 March.

The monthly get together gives older people the chance to socialise, stay connected with friends and relive their glory days through the classic songs of their youth.

By giving time back to causes outside of the hospital, the apprentices will be supporting local people to stay well and live healthy independent lives in their community.

Fran Whittock, an apprentice working in the Sexual Health Department at GWH, has seen the benefits of the Golden Oldies group firsthand.

She said: “For many elderly people, it’s their only form of interaction and it really means a lot to them.

“Getting out of the house, seeing friends and generally having an enjoyable time can really make a difference to both mental and physical health.

“I know how rewarding it is as my mum is the session leader for Swindon, so when I was thinking about what my colleagues and I could do to support people locally, it was obvious.”

Apprenticeships have become a popular entry route into the NHS in recent years, with more than 100 school and college leavers joining the wide range of teams at GWH since 2014.

More and more are now choosing to become apprentices, with those doing so receiving a regular income while continuing their work towards a formal qualification.

Apprenticeships are available in both clinical and non-clinical areas, such as finance, human resources and sexual health.

Time is split between classroom and workplace with both environments contributing core skills and experiences.

Apprentices receive a free bus pass to cover travel costs, a £500 completion bursary and the option to apply for a permanent role with the Trust at the end of the course.

Nicola Green, Training and Development Lead, said: “Our goal is for young people to see apprenticeships as the path to a successful career with the NHS.”

For more information on becoming an NHS apprentice, visit www.gwh.nhs.uk/working-for-us.