Two apprentices helping patients with epilepsy become first to qualify with degrees

Beth Walker and Mike Duke, at their graduation.

Two members of the neurophysiology team have become the first apprentices at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to qualify with degrees.

Beth Walker and Mike Duke achieved first-class honours health care science practitioner apprenticeship degrees after completing their courses at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

The pair were supported throughout their apprenticeships by Jo Smith, who set the trust’s Educational and Development Advisors Anne Burdis and Debbie Elton the task of recruiting the trust’s first healthcare scientist apprenticeship roles.

They  have been supported by their new manager Donna Caldo since Jo’s retirement earlier this year.

Beth was in her second year studying ‘A’ levels when she got the neurophysiology apprenticeship.

She said: “I’d always had an interest in medicine but I didn’t get the grades to be a doctor. This seemed like a good opportunity for me.”

Mike was already studying health and sports science at the University of Hull but decided to switch to the apprenticeship.

“It was a great opportunity to get more hands on,” he said.

They completed the year of their Level 2 apprenticeship and then started the second year of their degree course, travelling to Bristol for a week each semester and taking part in online lectures and Skype classes with their lecturers while putting their skills into practice.

Their job mainly entails working with patients with neurophysiology conditions such as epilepsy and they conduct diagnostic tests including EEGs.

Their hard work paid off when they both achieved first class honours degrees, graduating as Clinical Neurophysiologists after a ceremony at Bristol Cathedral this week.

Beth said: “I couldn’t believe it. I’d to read it about 10 times before it sank in.”

Mike said: “I’m just glad we have both done really well but I’m also glad for the trust. It has invested a lot of time and money in us and Anne and Debbie really helped and supported us so well.

“It was nice to finish it on a high note.”

Educational and Development Advisor Anne Burdis said: “They have worked their way up to this and are a real success for their department, the trust and apprenticeships. 

“They demonstrate that apprenticeships can really help you grow your career, develop the service, and are now both qualified as a result.”

The team’s third degree apprentice Charlotte is due to qualify next year.

[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]

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