Karen Lackenby, 26, was always interested in healthcare but she had never found the route that suited her.
Before taking part in The Prince’s Trust Get into NHS course, Karen was working as a receptionist in a garage near her hometown of Dunes in the Borders, but felt like she was just passing the time between jobs and wasn’t sure what she wanted to do as a career.
When she saw the Facebook post on The Prince’s Trust Scotland page, she jumped at the chance to apply, not quite believing that this could be the opportunity she was looking for.
After getting accepted, Karen joined 15 others on the five-week programme which consisted of two weeks of classroom training, followed by a three-week placement on the ward at her local hospital.
She found the work experience eye-opening, especially when she realised how varied the role could be depending on where you were placed.
Karen said: “We had to write a lot about who we were as a person at the start and at the end, we had to go back and reflect on it. I was able to see the difference and how much I had improved as a person - it really opened my eyes to different things about myself.”
You see all walks of life in the hospital environment and meet all sorts of people; from those in search of desperate care, to those who just need somebody to speak to when they come to visit their loved ones. You are the first person they will see, and you’ve got to be there for them. It’s rewarding to think that you’ve made that difference in a person's day.
Working in the hospital, she was also able to find out more about careers in the NHS in ways beyond an internet search. She was able to ask her line manager about the steps she would need to take and enjoyed being able to ask to be pointed in the right direction.
After completing the course, Karen began picking up bank shifts for the hospital and has recently accepted a job offer as a fulltime activities coordinator. It is closer to home and incorporates all the skills she learned working in a healthcare role.
Working with the Prince’s Trust Scotland had given Karen the boost in her confidence to pursue a personal care role and encourages anyone who is interested in getting more experience in a role outside their comfort zone.