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Heather Danes - operational departmental manager

Heather currently works as a Band 7 Service Manager in digestive diseases.

Heather Danes

She joined the Trust nearly 12 years’ ago aged 18 as an apprentice administrator where she undertook a Business Admin Level 2 Apprenticeship whilst working on a clinic reception.

Heather has since taken on a number of different admin roles in various departments and services at the Trust and previously also completed a Business Admin Level 3 Apprenticeship.

Heather says that she likes the apprenticeship scheme as it enables her to work on the job and gain the skills and experience she needs in order to complete the coursework and modules whilst being able to link work back to her role and the experiences she has had or is having.

Heather’s role is very varied and can be dependent on the day but mainly involves her leading a team to ensure tasks are completed. A typical day involves her working closely with consultants to ensure theatre lists and clinic lists are fully utilised. She oversees patients moving through pathways and works alongside other teams to avoid any delays and to look for improvement ideas for patient pathways.

Heather also works on excel spreadsheets and produces PowerPoint presentations for senior members of the team and consultants, enabling discussion to improve and review the service. She is also on a rota to work as Manager of the day which means she manages flow through the hospital for her service to help ensure they have beds for patients coming through theatres and the emergency department.

Heather talks about her experiences as an apprentice.


Video transcript

00:00:03:05 - 00:00:04:08

My name is

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Heather Danes and I work as a service manager,

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currently doing my level five operation management NVQ.

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What surprised me about starting an apprenticeship

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would be the fact that I'm able

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to do the work outside of my job as well, because I always feel like I'm

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quite a busy person, but I have actually managed to keep on top of workloads, so

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I've probably got more dedication than I thought I did.

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Apprenticeships have worked really well for me, I started here

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as an apprentice about 10 years ago.

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I've done my level two, I've done my level three, and now I'm doing my level five.

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So for me, it's definitely helped me progress here in Addenbrooke’s, it's

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definitely something to expand your knowledge and keep learning, even

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if you're in a role that you are happy and it's still good to try and improve.

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I’m a band seven at the moment, which the service manager,

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I'm hoping my next role is a deputy operations manager,

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which will be my band eight level,

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and then my goal is to get to an operations manager.

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What I enjoy most about my role is the variation, no day is the same here.

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I love working with people and I have a really good team here,

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I enjoy developing them as well, but

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I love being in a hospital environment, I love helping patients.

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Even if you're not

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medically operating on them, I still feel like in my role I'm still

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helping patients even in the background so that's what I enjoy the most.

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Doing an apprenticeship, I find that

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it encourages me and builds up my confidence

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because the things that I'm learning, because it's on the job,

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you're doing it in practice, so I do find that very helpful.

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I'm not someone that can sit and do exams,

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I've never been that type of person,

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so I really enjoy the fact that the NVQ and the apprenticeships are

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on the job training and you're learning by doing

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and not by just writing and reading, I like that.

What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?

I would recommend undertaking an apprenticeship whether you are just finishing school or college and especially if you don’t know what you want to do but you enjoy helping people. An apprenticeship allows you to develop skills and knowledge and can help you to secure the next step in your career.

Heather says that she enjoys working within a hospital setting and being able to help people, and although she is not clinical and works within an admin/manger setting, what she does is very important as she has to ensure patients have a good experience with their care whether this is as an outpatient or inpatient. She also really enjoys working with her colleagues within her team.

As part of her apprenticeship, Heather has 20% off the job learning time and this can involve many things – she has shadowed her manager and joined both her manager and senior colleagues in meetings. She also has research time to help her to study her modules alongside development and training needs which help her with completing her task. She doesn’t need to attend college as all of the work is completed online via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. She meets with her tutor once a month to review her work and she also attends cohorts via Teams with other learners.

When asked what her future intentions were once she completed her apprenticeship, Heather advises that she is hoping to continue to work her way up through Addenbrooke’s to achieve a Band 8 role as well as better her knowledge and skills that can help her to progress at work.