National Apprenticeship Week 2023- "Employer Tuesday" Tuesday 7 February

National Apprenticeship Week 2023- "Employer Tuesday"


ndwrh team photo employer tuesday
















As part of "Employer Tuesday", The university's apprenticeship team has partnered with the Nuffield Department of Women's Reproductive Health as the department has taken advantage of the apprenticeships scheme over the years. They have a number of employees currently completing apprenticeships across a range of different job sectors as well as staff who have completed apprenticeships who have now progressed into more senior roles which is something that we love to promote and celebrate in the central apprenticeships team. We would like to say a huge thank you to Danielle Hoare for collating the apprenticeship stories from within the department.


The Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health was established in 1937 and is one of the largest academic departments in the world within its field and they have been innovating, teaching, pioneering and evolving women's health for over 85 years. Our core purpose is to advance women's and reproductive health through research and teaching as well as improving the quality and delivery of women's health care across the globe. For more information on the department then please click here


The apprenticeships scheme is a great way of going into full-time employment and studying alongside this to achieve qualifications within different job sectors. On top of this, you will earn a salary and most importantly lots of opportunities to progress in your career and also have the choice of completing higher level qualifications. We have over 190 apprentices currently on program, which is a mixture of new entrants and existing members of staff looking to develop their careers further. To find out more about the apprenticeships we offer then please click here

Apprentice Case Studies

izzie way


What apprenticeship are you completing and what has your experience been like so far?

"I am doing a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship and I work as an Education Assistant in WRH. My job includes providing support to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. We have 5 different groups of undergraduate medical students over the year each of which learn/work in the department for 7 weeks."

"For each of these 7 week rotations I help to plan their timetables and tutorials with various different doctors, set up sim activities and plan a formative OSCE (exam) at the end of each rotation. For the post graduate students, I deal with enquires from students and potential students, I do the paperwork for their various milestones and I see to the admissions for the new students. I am also the co-ordinator for the education working group."


What challenges have faced during your apprenticeship?

"During my apprenticeship, there have been some changes in the graduate studies team which means both mine and my line manager’s job roles have changed slightly.  To start with my workload increased and I had to learn new duties but now we are more settled into the role the extra responsibilities and different activities have had a positive impact on my job."


How has the apprenticeship benefitted you?

"My apprenticeship has enabled me to gain confidence especially in communicating with people. It has improved my email etiquette and expanded my knowledge on how the different courses are run at Oxford. It has also allowed me to learn what it’s like to work in an office based job."


Any tips for someone looking to complete an apprenticeship?

"If you find a more hands on approach to learning I believe an apprenticeship this is the way to go. I know an apprenticeship may seem a bit scary especially at a young age but I can assure you, you will have so much support. I have had my department and team, Oxford university apprenticeship team, Abingdon and Witney college and my fellow apprentices support me through every stage."


James Matejtschuk- Education Manager (Izzie Way’s Manager)

The addition of apprenticeships to the department has brought a really positive energy and vibrancy to the department, and they seem to have a really ‘can do’ attitude to learning new skills and supporting the smooth running of the department. I think the apprenticeship programme is a really positive way to get a very practical insight into the workings of the University and of NDWRH, and is mutually beneficial in providing the department with more capacity and giving our apprentices an excellent grounding and transferrable skills for working in Higher Education or related fields in their future careers.


archie buchanan








What apprenticeship are you completing and what has your experience been like so far?

"I am completing a 3 year apprenticeship within NDWRH and am currently in my first year. My role is Finance and Grants Apprentice, primarily working within the grants team."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent working in NDWRH so far, especially due to the vast amount of rotation they offer – not only does this improve my skills development and provide an interesting and varied role, but this also helps me gain a better understanding of how the department operates."


What challenges have you faced during your apprenticeship?

"A challenge I have faced along the way are shortages of staff in my team. This has caused an increase in pressure to both my responsibility and to meet deadlines. Although this was a shock, I worked with my team to create new systems such as daily catch up calls and designated daily tasks to ensure the workload is covered and deadlines are met"


How has the apprenticeship benefitted you?

"This last year has helped develop lots of new and improved skills of mine such as advanced IT skills in multiple software/ systems."


What advice would you give to someone looking to complete an apprenticeship?

1) DON’T be afraid to ask questions about anything whatsoever even if they sound silly – you will never learn and improve if you do not ask. I was lucky to have experts surrounding me in my office so I took advantage of this by asking for the advice and expertise knowledge, hence why I have been able to gain so much more knowledge since joining!

2) Learn as much as you can about every single aspect of the department as this will give you a better idea of what you’re interested in when thinking of progressing your career in the department. This may open up more opportunities for you!


Tom Ibbotson- Finance Manager (Not a direct manager to an apprentice but has worked closely with all apprentices)

Apprentices have shaken up the dynamics of the team – the individuals we have taken on bring a new perspective and an eagerness to learn. We find they still need to study aspects of our roles that us old hands might be in danger of taking too much for granted.

The apprentices shine a light on what makes the team tick and how we must all keep refreshing our knowledge of our jobs, as new processes and ideas come along.  


danielle hoare


An overview summary of what apprenticeship you completed/ completing and a description of your experience from start to finish/ so far

"I first joined the department in 2016 as an Apprentice Administration Assistant, here I completed Level 2 and Level 3 Diplomas in Business Administration.  I then completed my Level 3 CIPD Diploma through the University’s Work-Learn-Develop programme in 2018-19 and have since also achieved my Level 5 CIPD (Certificate in Human Resource Management)."

"My experience as an apprentice was really positive, I especially enjoyed the college aspect, meeting new people and learning new skills whilst on the job. I feel like the three years I spent as an apprentice really paid off and put me in an excellent position to start a successful career in Human Resources. The University offers so many development and progression opportunities and really supports its staff. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone!"


What challenges did you face during your apprenticeship?

"I feel I was lucky in the fact I didn’t come across major obstacles but I would say one of the biggest challenges is time management and learning to balance both coursework alongside day-to-day workload. I felt as though I really learnt to use my own initiative and become responsible for what I achieved."


How has the apprenticeship benefitted you?

I was always unsure of what career path I wanted to go down and by completing the versatile Business Administration Apprentice, it really enabled me to gain valuable skills and find a career path I enjoy. It has allowed me to progress into a HR & Communications Officer role where I now supervise another member of my team.


Any tips for someone looking to complete an apprenticeship?

If you don’t ask you don’t get! Don’t be afraid to ask for new opportunities or to put yourself forward for things. It’s so important to gain experience in different areas of the business.

Use to-do lists and block out time in your diary to make sure you get everything done you need to. I found time management key when balancing a qualification against day-today work.


Susie Baber- Communications and Public Engagement Manager (Co-line Manager for Danielle Hoare)

Our department has benefitted hugely from the University’s apprentice scheme and it feels a more inclusive and aspirational place to work because of the positive and hardworking attitudes of the apprentices amongst us.

 I’ve seen first-hand the fantastic progression of an administration apprentice who learnt how to deliver a great variety of administrative tasks, for our professional services team. She enjoyed being stretched and challenged as an apprentice and has now successfully advanced her role to become a knowledgeable, trusted and approachable HR and Communications Officer who is very well respected by students and staff across department - we'd be lost without her! 

angel branker


What apprenticeship are you completing and what has your experience been like so far?

I am working towards a Level 3 Laboratory Technician Standard and BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Applied Sciences (Biology). I am thoroughly enjoying both the work and study aspects of my role and I feel like I have further developed many of my skills.


What challenges have you faced during your apprenticeship?

Getting to grips with the lab/ scientific environment was a little difficult in the beginning but asking lots of questions helped a lot.

Time management between the learning and the work sides. At times it can feel like there is not enough time to complete assignments and it can be quite chaotic if I am not properly organised. To overcome this I am making notes for EVERYTHING. All my tasks, the feedback on assignments/ tasks, what I did not do so well on, problems encountered and how they were solved. When reading this back before my next task, I can improve and hopefully avoid the same mistakes.


How has the apprenticeship benefitted you?

I have really enjoyed gaining practical work experience while learning. I am learning things I have never considered doing and developing various skills;

  • Cognitive and problem-solving skills: critical thinking, approaching non-routine problems with creative solutions, use of systems and technology, generating and communicating ideas innovatively
  • Intrapersonal skills: self-management, adaptability and resilience, self-monitoring and self-development, self-analysis and reflection, organising and prioritising
  • Interpersonal skills: effective communication and articulation of information, working in a team, presentation
  • Commercial skills: sector awareness, budget management/monitoring


Any tips for someone looking to complete an apprenticeship?

Be proactive in learning as much as you can, ask a lot of questions and make notes. Don’t be shy either, you are not going to be judged for not understanding something or wanting to know more.

Never be afraid to ask for help, it’s a sign that you want to know more, not a sign of failure

Get organised early and manage your time properly.


Tiffany Lodge- Laboratory Manager (Angel Branker’s Manager)

Angel joined the Lab Management Team in September 2022 and immediate made an impact by her ‘can do attitude’ and eagerness to learn new skills.  As Angel’s line-manager it is rewarding to be able to provide the opportunity for Angel to learn skills relevant to her future goals.

lewis thomson


What apprenticeship are you completing and what has your experience been like so far?

I work as an apprentice administration assistant, this means I provide support to the HR, Finance, Education and the Communications teams, as well as providing executive administrative support to researchers in the department and the head of administration and finance.


As a new apprentice, what are you most looking forward to in your role?

I am looking forward to using and learning oracle, as well as, learning different skills from different teams in the department to improve my knowledge.



How has the apprenticeship benefitted you so far/how do you see it benefitting you?

Starting my apprenticeship has allowed me work whilst attending college and using what I have learned into my work.



Any tips for someone looking to complete an apprenticeship?

One tip I would give is to not be afraid to ask questions. Your managers and colleagues will understand that you are new and will always be willing to help.


Lesa Levett- Head of Administration and Finance (Lewis Thomson’s Line Manager)

It has been great to employ four positive, energetic, and bright apprentices within WRH in the last 12 months.  Each of the four apprentices working within the professional services team has brought a fresh perspective to their role and is openly contributing to the department's evolution.  Their enthusiasm to learn new skills, gain knowledge and contribute provides a great return on investment for WRH.  It ensures we have the administrative support to help the department grow. 

Our willingness to embrace apprenticeships is because we already have a success story with Danielle Hoare, who has been with us for almost seven years but started as a Business Apprentice.  Danielle is now a Grade 6, with a wealth of experience and knowledge under her belt, but she was a shining example of an apprentice with a strong desire to prove her worth and a great work ethic.    Danielle has specialised in Human Resources and Communications but has a sound understanding of all the professional services areas. 

The department believes in 'growing' its people, and the apprenticeship scheme fits very well into that ethos. 

rebecca jarvis foster


What apprenticeship are you completing and what has your experience been like so far?

I am currently enrolled on the Level 3 Certificate in People Practice (CIPD) apprenticeship at Abingdon and Witney College. The qualification provides a pragmatic introduction covering both Human Resource (HR) and Learning and Development (L&D) practice. I am very new to the course but am fully enjoying the experience. The tutor is very knowledgeable and provides great support to those who need additional assistance.


As a new apprentice to the Work Learn Develop scheme, what are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to finishing the course and applying the skills and knowledge I have learnt to my role within the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health.


How has the apprenticeship benefitted you?

I have gained an insight and understanding of HR procedures and how they apply to my day-to-day role. I feel confident when discussing and relaying HR procedures to my colleagues.


Any tips for someone looking to complete an apprenticeship?

My top tip when completing an apprenticeship is to revisit the lesson contents later that day to ensure a full understanding of what was taught in class. In addition to this, I would also recommend completing homework and assignment work after the lesson has finished. This ensures you keep on top of your workload and meet the assignment deadline date.