It’s always exciting when there is a new smiley face around the office here! We interviewed Abbie, the Healthwatch York Apprentice, to find out more about her role.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Abbie, the Healthwatch York Apprentice. I have a busy schedule at the moment, but I’m really enjoying the apprenticeship so far. It’s non-stop with college on Mondays, my apprenticeship here as well as my job at the weekends!  I work as a waitress at Frankie and Bennys. I make the most of the food – we get to eat everything for free, apart from the steak!

Before this I worked from age 13 – 16 part time at a hairdressers. I studied at All Saints Sixth Form College and did English Literature, Psychology and Geography, before applying for apprenticeships through and York College.

What attracted you to the role?

At school I really enjoyed volunteering with disabled teens, as well as working at a community café for socially isolated/ lonely people. This got me interested in social care. I didn’t want to go to university as I learn better when I am doing. I wanted some practical, on the job experience. I applied for a number of apprenticeships, but I chose the Healthwatch York Apprenticeship because for me it is a great opportunity to gain experience in the areas that I am interested in.

What is your favourite bit of the job so far?

I love getting out there and going to events and conferences. I also like working on the information stands – all interesting stuff!

What has surprised you?

Finding out all about mental health, and about the funding cuts and how people are having to do so much more with less money. Also, at the volunteer development day, a speaker came and told us about cuts to benefits through Universal Credit – another thing I was surprised about.

Any challenges?

Spreadsheets! You don’t have to use these when you’re waitressing! And uploading stuff to the website, but I love learning it all.

Any future plans?

In the future, I’d like to work with children with learning difficulties or train as a counsellor. I would also love to work with young offenders and am keen to do mentoring. I get to find out about lots of different areas of Health and Social care with Healthwatch York, so I am really happy to be here at York CVS for the next 11 months!