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Buckland Hospital worker Niall Cruthchfield nominated for NHS Apprentice of the Year award

By Sam Lennon

Niall Crutchfield’s name is down for the Apprentice of the Year award at the NHS Health Education England (Kent Surrey and Sussex) awards.

Niall, 17, works at Buckland Hospital in Dover in the manual handling team, which helps staff move patients safely.

Buckland Hospital apprentice Nial Crutchfield with manager Sharon Rinsland. He has been shortlisted for an award.

Buckland Hospital apprentice Nial Crutchfield with manager Sharon Rinsland. He has been shortlisted for an award.

He said: “I wanted to be working and earning a wage while learning a trade,

“When the job opportunity came up I knew I had to go for it.

“I’m really enjoying life with the team and feel as though I have fitted straight in. Right from the very start, I have been welcomed and treated the same as everybody else.”

The 2017 awards recognise apprentices who have worked above and beyond the call of duty, shown high levels of care and compassion, and excelled at working to improve the patient experience.

In March, Niall travelled to the House of Commons representing the East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust.

This was for an Apprentices Take Over the Commons event, organised to celebrate National Apprentice Week.

He said: “To be standing in the Houses of Parliament wearing my trust uniform was such a proud moment and a great achievement for me.

“Now I’ve been shortlisted for the apprenticeships awards, it’s even better.”

Niall had been a sixth former at Dover Christ Church Academy when he decided to move on and join the trust last September.

He attends college once every six weeks to work towards his qualification.

His manager, Sharon Rinsland, said “Niall, although he has just left school, is very passionate in his role. He is learning so many skills and embraces any chance to learn something new. His drive and willingness are so refreshing.”

Niall is already familiar with handling patients because he has a severely disabled brother whom he helps to care for outside work.

He often spends the early hours of the morning taking shifts with his parents to help look after him.

Niall said; “For at least 90% of the time, if you call the team it will be me on the end of the phone.

“I like to think that I have made a positive influence on my colleagues, and that has been reflected by my being shortlisted.”

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