Midlife career change from Spar supervisor to surgical stores expert, thanks to PTP

Midlife career change from Spar supervisor to surgical stores expert, thanks to PTP

A former grocery store supervisor has become an important part of a hospital’s surgical team, thanks to her apprenticeship with top Midlands training company Performance Through People (PTP).

Sally Evans’ mid-life career change came when she applied for the position of theatre stores apprentice at Walsall Manor Hospital, part of the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

In this role, the mother-of two took a Level 2 Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship with PTP, achieving a ‘Distinction’ in her end point assessment.

She has since been promoted to theatre stores operative at Walsall Manor Hospital, responsible for everything from arranging broken door repairs to making sure complex surgical tools are available whenever needed.

Sally, aged 48, from Walsall, said: “Doing an apprenticeship at my age was a little scary but it was a steppingstone to finding my perfect job and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all again.

“I finally feel like I have a career that I love and not just a job to pay the bills.

“Don’t ever think just because you are older that it is too late, as apprenticeships are the building blocks to getting where you want to be.”

Sally had previously worked part-time as a supervisor at the Spar store on the Walsall Manor Hospital site.

But once her children had grown up, she wanted a different full-time career and explained how she started looking for a new job back in January last year.

She said: “I’d always wanted to work in the NHS but I thought I was too old to start retraining.

“When looking through the NHS website for a clerical position I spotted a job as a theatre stores apprentice, and it sounded perfect.

“The apprenticeship was very informative and my PTP tutor was always guiding me, encouraging me to be more confident and trust my own judgement, even when I doubted myself.

“I now have a much better understanding of how procedures can help your working life, how they can make things easier and keep you safe.

“I discovered that I like learning new things, and my job allows me to do that as each day is different.

“I’m constantly finding new and better ways to optimise time and efficiency within my own little area of the stores.”

PTP, part of the BCTG Group, won Transport and Logistics Training Provider of the Year in the national Annual Apprenticeship Conference Awards in 2019 and 2020.

Scott Brown, Sally’s learning and development tutor at PTP, said: “It’s been a real pleasure to work with Sally, and I was thrilled when she got her well-deserved ‘Distinction’.

“She was very keen from the start, although she didn’t have that much confidence, so I worked with her, giving constructive feedback.

“Sally was very attentive and took on board all feedback and guidance, and the quality of her work was as high as I’ve seen from any apprentice, with a very good eye for detail.

“She really developed during lockdown and was given more authority in her department to reorganise and streamline processes.

“I was impressed at how she completely reorganised storage areas so that fast-moving items and larger, slower moving items were placed more logically and efficiently.

“Sally is an excellent example of how it’s never too late to change career direction and learn new skills.”

Anyone wanting more information on apprenticeships at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust line can email apprenticeships.plus@nhs.net.