Tom Says completed an LMP Library, Information and Archive Services Assistant (LIAS) apprenticeship at Colchester Hospital Library (part of East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT). He achieved an amazing distinction-level grade and has progressed to a Masters Degree.
In his own words, here is Tom’s apprenticeship journey:
“Studying history at university, the library quickly became my best friend, with hours spent searching the shelves in search for books, or asking librarians for obscure articles on Oliver Cromwell. Little did I know while studying that I would end up being the one who would help people find the information they needed.
It was during the Covid-19 pandemic when I really started thinking about different careers I wanted to pursue. The more I looked into it, the more I came to realise that a job within a library would suit me. As I started searching for library assistant jobs, I came across a post for an apprenticeship role in a library sector I was not expecting: The NHS.
I began researching more into the NHS library world, quickly becoming impressed with the scope of opportunity, and therefore decided to apply for the apprenticeship. Despite various Covid restrictions, I was able to have a face- to-face interview and this was a hugely positive experience and gave me a great impression from the start. I started my apprenticeship at Colchester Hospital Library (part of East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)) on 8 February 2021.
The official title of the apprenticeship was a Level 3 in Library, Information and Archive Services Assistant Apprenticeship, and LMP Education provide the training and support element. I had regular one-to-one online meetings with my LMP tutor. I struck up an excellent rapport with my LMP tutor Thomas, who was very engaging and encouraging.
The biggest surprise I found in doing this apprenticeship was the variety of topics covered. I initially thought that I would not find an apprenticeship challenging enough. However, over my 12 assignments, I was able to cover a wide range of topics, from cataloguing and metadata to customer service and marketing. Having this variety also proved useful when it came to my end assessment. I was able to use the knowledge I had built up over the first year and apply that to developing our new library website. This project included conducting research, building the website and doing user-testing. I was able to use this research to create our new website, which was launched in September 2022.
Having off-the-job hours was also another major benefit of doing the apprenticeship. This meant I was able to experience other departments of the hospital. I spent a day with the Medical Records Team, and this a was great learning experience, understanding the mammoth task of both retrieving physical paper records as well as uploading patient records to online platforms. This experience helped reinforce the theoretical aspects of the apprenticeship I had been learning, such as, excellent record keeping, file archiving and information governance.
One of the challenges of doing the apprenticeship was, that for the first year, I was on an apprenticeship wage, which meant taking a pay cut. This meant reconsidering my finances and budgeting more. However, I knew that taking an apprenticeship would be an investment that had strong potential to lead to more opportunities.
Lastly, all I would say to people is to not to be afraid to apply for an apprenticeship role. The day I submitted my application I had been turned down from another job and this rejection nearly made me not want to go through that process again. In the end, I thought “I have nothing to lose by applying” and I am so glad I did because I think I have found the sector for me. The apprenticeship has enabled me to apply for and enrol on a Masters in Library and Information’s Services.”
To find out more about the LMP Library, Information and Archive Services Assistant (LIAS) apprenticeship here https://lmp-group.co.uk/courses/library-information-archive-assistant/Contact