A big-hearted University Centre Rotherham (UCR) apprentice who has combined her busy NHS management role with studying towards a Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship, has been instrumental in leading her local community’s response to the Coronavirus crisis by raising over £6,000 worth of donations and delivering over 250 food parcels.
Cath McCartan, who has worked in the NHS for over 25 years, has excelled since starting her apprenticeship in May 2018.
The apprenticeship, delivered in partnership with RNN Training, combines on-the-job experience with off-the-job training and has seen Cath gain a Foundation Degree in Professional Practice in Health and Social Care, change the focus of her work, and receive a promotion to become Service Support Manager for Out Patients and Support Services.
Since March 2020, Cath has combined the challenge of working for the NHS with leading a team of volunteers in response to Coronavirus. The team work to ensure that Thurcroft residents in need of support receive it. She credits some of the leadership skills she has gained on her apprenticeship with being able to coordinate a team of volunteers in the village.
Cath explained: “I’ve always tried to be involved in community activity as I think it’s really important. Coronavirus has had such an impact on so many people, and I knew there would be people in the community that needed support.
“I worked with the Parish Council to see what grants and funding were available to support our efforts. I think this is where what I have learnt on the apprenticeship was so useful. I knew how to communicate and show that I would be accountable for our activity. The other skills my apprenticeship has given me was in knowing what to delegate.
“We set up a Facebook page so that residents could get in touch and let us know that they needed support, or that they had neighbours who needed help. I knew that I had to delegate that to somebody who is a bit savvier with technology than I am to get the best from it. We were able to set-up donations and the local community donated over £6,000 to the cause.
“I hope that our volunteering has helped people through these tough times. We’ve had a buddy system, and we’ve been making phone calls and delivering shopping and medicine to those who were self-isolating. We have also prepared and delivered food parcels for those in need.”
As well as coordinating the volunteer response to Coronavirus in Thurcroft, Cath has also secured over £20,000 worth of funding for the local football team, Thurcroft Miners Institute FC. The funding will help with improvements to the pitches and provide half-price football for the team’s players when they can safely return to training and playing matches.
RNN Training Healthcare Tutor and Assessor Wendy Flynn, a former NHS nurse, has taught Cath throughout her apprenticeship.
Wendy said: “I am so proud of Cath not only for the tremendous progress she has made on her apprenticeship and in her career but also the huge role she plays in her community.
“The demands that have been put on the NHS service over the last few months are immense, but Cath is a shining example of the type of personality you need to be successful in healthcare.
“She is so big-hearted; her communication and interpersonal skills are excellent and her work ethic is outstanding.”
Images: Thurcroft Coronavirus Action Group / Facebook