During National Autism Week[i] (30th March – 5th April), Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership (NHCP) is highlighting how one employee with Asperger’s Syndrome has overcome challenges to excel in her career and win its prestigious ‘Apprentice of the Year 2020’ award.
Rhiannon Rees-Jones is 39-year-old and works as an Administrative Assistant in Northamptonshire Adult Social Services. Rhiannon has Asperger’s Syndrome and has found undertaking an apprenticeship quite challenging. But although there have been times of frustration, she has overcome them through sheer determination and her can do attitude.
Rhiannon is currently doing an apprenticeship in Level 3 Business Administration, which is giving her the perfect platform to progress her career. She has learnt new skills, including project management and managing change, which she has found particularly useful in her day to day role in administration.
Rhiannon beat 41 other apprentices to win the overall apprentice of the year award and also won the ‘Behind the Scenes’ award for Adult Social Care at NHCP’s annual apprentice awards event in February.
Rhiannon says, “As someone with Asperger’s, life can be pretty challenging, but I no longer see it as a barrier. I have achieved things I never thought I would thanks to the support of my friends, family and colleagues. Without this strong network of individuals, I don’t think I would have the courage to go on this journey and reach this milestone.”
“I would like to encourage anyone on the Autism Spectrum to keep developing themselves and try not to let it hold them back. I think people should make the most out of life and the opportunities that may arise, just like I have.”
Before embarking on her career in health and social care, Rhiannon worked in a variety of jobs, ranging from bartending to retail and data entry. Around ten years ago, she joined Northamptonshire County Council and has excelled in her career within the admin department and says she has found her niche.
Rhiannon adds, “The apprenticeship gave me the chance to challenge myself and expand my knowledge and skills. I found the course difficult, yet fun. It enabled me to network with new people, learn a lot and gain a huge sense of accomplishment. I’d definitely recommend apprenticeships as a great way to learn and develop.”
Laura Lydia Watts, Project Manager for Apprenticeships and Work Experience at NHCP said, “Apprenticeships give people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn whilst working. They are a unique step into a healthcare career and give people a platform to progress, just like Rhiannon. We’d encourage people with disabilities to consider an apprenticeship as they’ll be fully supported, and it could open career doors they may never have thought about.”
“We offer a huge variety of health and care apprenticeships, including nursing degrees and nursing associate roles, as well as pharmaceutical, engineering and administrative roles in business, IT, HR and finance.”
Several of Northamptonshire’s health and care providers are part of the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ recruitment campaign, which unites the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KGH), Primary Care and St Andrew’s Healthcare in recruiting doctors and nurses to relocate and live and work in Northamptonshire.
Part of the campaign is focused on recruiting apprentices across the county. For more details on apprenticeships available visit: www.bestofbothworlds.uk.net/northamptonshire-apprenticeships/
For more information on other vacancies visit: www.bestofbothworlds.uk.net