L-R: Michael Wright & Hayley Conlon

My name is Michael and I’m a Project Support Officer with WYAAT.  My colleague Hayley works as the Personal Assistant to theWYAAT Programme Director.  Apart from working closely together, we also both began our Project Management Apprenticeships at WYAAT.  

We started our Association for Project Management (APM) apprenticeships in January 2020.  This was to build on our existent skills and provide us with the opportunity to further develop while contributing across the WYAAT programmes as part of our roles. 

Two months, and the onset of a global pandemic later, the nature of our apprenticeships changed dramatically.  Like so many others, Hayley and I had to adapt both our work and study to online meetings and working from home. 

Hayley and I have undertaken all our learning modules alongside our roles and responsibility as part of WYAAT.  The combination of theoretic study and the practical aspects of working in a project management environment allowed us to take on new responsibilities in our current roles and contributing to the programmes run by WYAAT. 

In January 2021, Hayley and I passed the APM project Management Qualification Exam and we are scheduled to finish the apprenticeship later this year and once we have completed our End Point Assessment. 

Although working from home on a full-time basis was a big change to the way we had worked previously, it did have the converse effect of freeing up time and giving us greater flexibility which helped with completing assignments, on-the-job training and exam revision.  This would have been very difficult if we had still been commuting and working more regular hours.

As part of our development we have both taken on new tasks such as developing stakeholder maps, resource trackers and project plans to increase our knowledge and skills.  This type of practical training has been a key part of our apprenticeships and it has been brilliant to professionally develop while also contributing to WYAAT and making a tangible difference to the work we do as a collaborative.  

Colleagues across WYAAT have been so supportive in terms of our apprenticeships by providing guidance and the opportunity to take on new and challenging responsibilities.  In my case, in 2020 I compared the bidding scores during the recruitment of our LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) supplier.  This was a significant and detailed task, which I was happy to take on and I would like to thank WYAAT Interim Director Lucy Cole for having the confidence in me to complete this part of the procurement process.  

Hayley and I would both like to take this opportunity to say how grateful we are to everyone at WYAAT for their amazing support in terms of helping us both to progress through our apprenticeships by arranging virtual calls to provide guidance around modules such as risk and issue management, communication and stakeholder organisation to name but a few.  These training inputs helped both of us gain a greater understanding of how these areas of work are applied within an NHS setting.  Thank you to everyone who has worked with us on so many projects; your help, advice and support, has made a huge difference to our development. 

Working in the NHS through a pandemic has been a scenario we would have never expected.  Being in a position to contribute towards the Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate and take on different and challenging duties to help the amazing people that make the NHS what is it has been an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives. 

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