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On the right is a selfie of Pamela in her NHS uniform. On the right is The Manchester College logo.

Pamela progresses through NHS ranks after Work Academy course

In 2012, Pamela Akufongwe was unemployed and uninspired, looking for a change of career away from retail but unsure of which path to take.

Fast forward to 2024, and the mother-of-three is celebrating her new role as a Practice Education Practitioner at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, having worked her way from band one to band six over the course of her 11-year healthcare career.

The catalyst for this journey was a visit to the Job Centre, followed by a ten-week course with The Manchester College.

“The Job Centre advisor talked to me about a nursing assistant role, as there were lots of vacancies in this area,” Pamela explained. “I was very sceptical as I had never done a care job before.”

Apart from taking care of her family and nursing her grandmother in her final days, Pamela had never cared for strangers and questioned if it was the right career for her. At the same time, she wanted to give back and reciprocate the “fantastic” care and support she had received at St Mary’s Hospital during the births of her three children.

Pamela continues: “Taking all my concerns and wishes into consideration, the advisor proposed a pre-employment programme at The Manchester College’s NHS Sector Based Work Academy with the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

The programme was intense and informative. I studied at college for five weeks and then went on placement for five weeks. I learned so much and picked up vital skills that helped with all the fears and doubts I had at the start. It was a very good foundation for my healthcare career. 

“The programme gave me an insight into my responsibilities and things I would have to deal with should I choose to take a permanent job in the sector. Another advantage of the programme is that it also gives you a Level 1 Healthcare and Employability certification and equips you with lots of transferable skills.”

Pamela has now been working for the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust for 11 years and has held various roles, working in various Trust wards, departments and hospitals, as well as working in the community.

“It has been a roller coaster but amazing journey so far, with plenty of opportunities for career development and progression,” she said. 

All this started with The Manchester College and NHS Trust giving me the platform through the Sector Based Work Academy, and I will always be grateful for all the support I have received throughout the years from colleagues in various roles, from cleaners to directors.

The Manchester College’s NHS Sector Based Work Academy is delivered at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with the NHS and Job Centre Plus.

The course is delivered between six and eight times a year and the content of the course is co-designed, and at times co-delivered with the NHS, and runs alongside the NHS mandatory training. This means that students who complete the course are in a very strong position to gain permanent employment. 

You can find out more about the NHS Sector Based Work Academy and email to apply.