Cheryl, early careers and project support manager, NHS Lothian

Cheryl tells us how she started her career in the NHS, after working in the finance sector for 10 years. As well as working as an early careers and project support manager, Cheryl is in the second year of a Business Management Graduate Apprenticeship.

My name’s Cheryl Dickson. I’m an early careers project support manager for NHS Lothian.

When I left school, I went to work in the finance industry, working on pensions and investments and I done that for approximately 10 years.

After working in the finance industry, I decided I would like a career change and would like to go into nursing, so I started with NHS Lothian as a clinical support worker.

Within my current role, I am working on supporting young people into careers within NHS Lothian through pathways such as the Modern Apprenticeship programme and the Prince’s Trust ‘Get Into Healthcare’ employability programme as well.

We do a lot of school engagement, so work experience, and supporting that, and also big scale careers events such as Skills Scotland.

I am also doing a Graduate Apprenticeship. It’s a Business Management degree with Heriott Watt University and I’m about to go into second year in September.

The skills that are the most important for me to do my job are really effective communication is key, having empathy and consideration of others at all times. Being open minded and treating people with the dignity and respect they all deserve. More so, organisational skills. I have to be completely organised and proactive, use my own initiative at all times and be able to change to conflicting demands.

At the moment, I’m working in an area I absolutely love. I feel like I’ve found my niche working in HR and education. Once I finish my degree, I would like to take that to the next level. What that looks like, I’m not too sure, but probably more into a more strategic HR role.

If you’re just about to leave school and you’re thinking about you career pathway, think about the NHS. We’re not just nurses and doctors. There are so many different job roles, different pathways are available to you. Have a look on the NHSScotland careers website, look at all the different routes you can take and then the world’s your oyster.