Declan secured a sought-after Medical Engineering Apprenticeship in the NHS.
Seventeen-year-old Declan Hunter is earning and learning on a Medical Engineering Apprenticeship in the NHS. Declan works in different hospitals around Leeds fixing medical devices when they break.
The Apprenticeship lasts for two years and involves working in different parts of the NHS to understand the variety of equipment used in different centres. For Declan that means working across three hospitals, Seacroft, Jimmy’s and the Leeds General Infirmary.
Declan comments, “This month I’m working on devices that treat cancer. Last month I was working on the little devices like thermometers and observation machines that are used on patients day to day.”
For his qualification, Declan goes to the Kirklees Engineering Centre in Huddersfield every Tuesday to study for a Level 3 electrical course which gives him 120 credits. He feels the combination of day release alongside work is very effective: “I do from 9.30am to 7.30pm on Tuesdays. It’s a long day but it’s more beneficial because you then apply the things that you’re learning about at college on the job, which I feel is a lot better than just going straight into college. And you get paid, so you learn about everything under one scheme.”
Declan heard about the NHS opportunity through an apprenticeship fair at Leeds Arena which UTC encouraged him to attend. He applied to the NHS and was invited to their assessment day. His experience at the UTC stood him in good stead at interview, as Declan explains: “When the interviewer asked me what I’d done, I was able to say that I’d been to an engineering college before I’d finished my GCSEs and gained two extra engineering qualifications. It helped me stand out.”
Declan continues: “I feel my time at the UTC set me up in a very good way. The product design work stood out for me because it involved electrical knowledge, which I use now. The Green Power project was also good, which was an enrichment activity that involved wiring up an electric car, doing the mechanical side as well, working out forces which I do now at work – so having the prior ability to do some of these things really did help me out.
Asked what he would say to new Year 10 students at the UTC, Declan says: “I would say that the opportunities that come out of this place are second to none. There is nowhere else in Leeds where you can get this opportunity at this age.”