A Melksham nursing apprentice has overcome her nerves about going back into education following a 15-year break after joining a hospital in Bath.

Josie Keenan, 30, from Melksham was looking to grow and develop her career but was nervous about going back into full-time education.

She began her journey at Bath Clinic, part of Circle Health Group, where she joined as a healthcare assistant. Josie has had a passion for working in healthcare, since she was a teenager.

Keen to learn new skills and develop her knowledge in the sector, an apprenticeship was a great way for Josie to achieve this.

She said: “I was keen to further my knowledge and my career in healthcare, I didn’t have the A-levels or any previous experience.

“I left education 15 years ago and was nervous to go back - an apprenticeship changed all that.

“So the apprenticeship programme was the perfect way for me to gain the skills and knowledge without having to return to full-time education.

“I could earn a full-time salary along with working at Bath Clinic and that was a big draw for me in wanting to do an apprenticeship programme.”

Josie decided to make her goal a reality and began to explore her options. She discovered that Circle Health Group were offering nursing apprenticeships and, following a conversation with the team at Bath Clinic, she was enrolled onto a Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship programme in 2023, which was accredited through Teesside University.

The apprenticeship programme was the first step, she needed to complete ahead of her nursing qualification. The skills that she would obtain would give her the confidence needed to work in a clinical environment.

“The Level 3 Senior Healthcare Assistant Apprenticeship programme gave me the skills that I could pick up and use in my role at Bath Clinic.

“The apprenticeship programme gave me the confidence that I could move forward during the first steps in my career in healthcare. This meant I could take the skills that I had learnt and develop them in a clinical environment,” Josie said.

“I’ve been doing my apprenticeship since August and the tutors at the college have been amazing. They are so understanding and helpful. I enjoy the study days and having time to work towards my qualification.”

Josie is due to complete his qualification in August 2025. Reflecting on her experiences so far, she admits that it has not always been easy.

“Having left education 15 years ago, I was nervous about how I would cope with the assignments and managing my time. Balancing my studies alongside being a single parent has also been a challenge.

“However, my tutors have been very helpful. They’ve been able to point me in the right direction when I have been stuck on a particular assignment or topic, so I’m grateful for that.”

Working towards the Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker qualification has changed the life of Josie.

She added: “Doing an apprenticeship programme has allowed me to further my career and have better career prospects in the future.

“Without the apprenticeship programmes that Circle Health Group provides, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the opportunities that have been given to me.

“I hope to finish my current course and then work towards becoming an Occupational Departmental Practitioner by enrolling onto another apprenticeship programme.”

Josie is one of eight apprentices who are working or have completed their qualifications at Bath Clinic. In 2023 alone, Circle Health Group supported over 200 apprentices who completed their apprenticeship qualifications.