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Learner stories: "Experience those first steps into healthcare"

Anna Ceesay is currently studying for a Health T Level – a high-quality, work-focused alternative to A Levels for those aged 16-18. After completing her two-year course at Tresham College, she hopes to progress into employment through an apprenticeship.  

We caught up with her during her second year to see how the T Level experience has been and discuss her plans to work in paediatric nursing.  

Why did you choose to study a T Level? 

“When doing my research into which course and colleges offered the best route for me to begin my journey into healthcare, I came across the T Level route through the Government website. It was a brand-new course designed for people wanting to work in the healthcare sector.  

“This was a hands-on approach, as well as practical way of learning, instead of traditional A Levels – which best suits the way I learn due to my dyslexia. This also allowed me to specialise in the second year, which was brilliant for me as I want to do paediatric nursing. It gave me a chance to experience that placement before moving onto an apprenticeship.” 

What have been the highlights of the course so far?    

“I have had such brilliant experiences within placement and in college. For a brief time, I was taught by a brilliant caring paediatric nurse who supported me throughout the first part of my second year. Although I have not started my journey in paediatrics yet, I have had a huge variety of placements, such as a day in both children’s and adults’ A&E.  

“I was recently given an afternoon with the skills lab in Kettering General Hospital to take blood and insert a canula into a clinical arm to simulate a human. I’ve had opportunities to meet incredible staff and patients and get a real look into the NHS.” 

What have your industry placements been like? 

“I have had a range of placements, such as working with porters, catering, physios, and occupational therapists. These placements have given me a good knowledge of patient communication and what other job roles include – exploring what other options are out there.  

“I’ve also had day placements - just how fast and slow the pace can be, depending on where you are. I have learned that I prefer a fast-paced environment as I thrive within those areas.  

I would say this course is the best chance some may have to experience those first steps into healthcare. It gives a wider knowledge than a traditional A Level or BTEC route would.

Anna Ceesay, Health T Level student

“I have had larger placements such as two surgical wards, which was a challenge as I was left on my own doing personal care – although it did teach me how important it is to raise issues and to voice what is going on. A key part of working in the NHS is having the courage to speak out.  

“I had my longest placement in Ashton Ward, which is also a surgical ward. This showed me valuable knowledge and taught me that I don’t want to work on surgical wards. I had a short placement on the Maxillofacial unit where I spent most of my time with the orthodontic team, which showed me new experiences and a potential job.” 

In what ways has the T Level prepared you for your next steps? 

“My plans for the following weeks and months are to continue with the T Level course. I am looking forward to hopefully starting a new paediatric placement in Leicester and looking into partnerships within the Leicester Trust to progress my career into nursing. 

“It has given me a very knowledgeable insight into management and managing expectations and has helped me grow as a person. It will shape how I will perform in the job roles I will have in the future. The T Level has given me a practical element of learning with the placements which will help me with my next steps. 

“I would say this course is the best chance some may have to experience those first steps into healthcare. It gives a wider knowledge than a traditional A Level or BTEC route would.” 

Learn more about T Levels and the range of qualifications available on our T Levels homepage.

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