From KFC to NHS – Shannon is our NHS Hero

Shannon Woodhall (18) never believed that she could gain an income whilst learning, but when she was becoming increasingly frustrated by long days at college, followed by a shift at KFC; she began to look at other options.

A search on the government website started her journey towards becoming a modern apprentice with Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

“I went to Stourbridge College for a year,” explained Shannon who lives in Dudley.

“I studied Health and Social Care, which I did enjoy, but I quickly learned that studying in a classroom wasn’t for me.

“I was at college until 4pm and then I worked a shift at KFC until 11pm – I would come home and be shattered. I really wanted a change so began to look at my options.

“I have always had an interest in caring for people, but I never dreamed I could get a job in the NHS – when I found the apprenticeship opportunity and was successful with my application I was delighted.”

Shannon’s role within the bank office sees her covering shifts on the wards at the Trust’s three hospitals, Dorothy Pattison and Bloxwich Hospital in Walsall and Bushey Fields Hospital in Dudley. She also helps with recruiting staff to join the bank and ensuring that those on the bank remain up to date with all of their training requirements.

“I really enjoy my role,” said Shannon, who has been at the Trust since September last year. “On a daily basis, I answer queries via e-mail and on the phone and support the team to make sure that all vacant shifts are covered in order to ensure our patients receive the best care possible.”

Shannon says that playing a role in the recent launch of HealthWorks (a local programme raising awareness of NHS apprenticeships) is the highlight of her career to date.

“I never thought that I would be involved with the creation of a brand,” laughed Shannon. “But my apprenticeship has already given me so many opportunities and I was delighted to be involved with something that will raise awareness of NHS apprenticeships and make more young people aware of all the options available to them.

“The fact that HealthWorks is going to be telling school children about opportunities in the NHS is brilliant – if I had known about this opportunity when I was at school – I would have gone straight into it and wouldn’t have gone to college or worked at KFC.

“My message to anyone who is thinking of doing an apprenticeship is to go for it! It is the best thing, you get an income whilst learning and it is good for your CV, as well as building your personal skills.”

Outside of work, Shannon enjoys shopping and visiting new places.

So who is Shannon’s own hero?

“My mum!” beamed Shannon. “No matter what she has been through she is always happy and smiling.”

For more information on apprenticeship opportunities available in the NHS please visit https://www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk/apprenticeships