Today marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week and our very own Apprentice Library Assistant, Jack Welch, shares his experiences, learning and views about working at DCH Library. As you will see he is making great strides in the world of library work but the rest of the team at DCH Library are also benefitting from his enthusiasm and experience.
“Starting as the new Apprentice Library Assistant, there was certainly one expectation that was thwarted – our range of general fiction/non-fiction was smaller than expected! You can probably gather my knowledge about public libraries, as opposed to health libraries, was much greater. At the time of writing this, I will have been with DCH Library for four months now, which like most enjoyable pursuits has flown by without too much notice (and is always a positive sign). As part of a wider network of health libraries across the southern region, I have found we play a subtle, yet influencing, role in supporting effective healthcare for patients at the hospital.
Alongside providing a range of textbooks, which has inevitably decreased in the internet age, we ensure members at this hospital and beyond are able to access scholarly articles with ease and swiftly respond to those requests when they come in. What cannot always be seen afterwards is the impact that might have after on our end, but the aim is geared towards the care of patients in practice. Secondly, and while it is not strictly part of the library function, we give extra assistance to staff who are having difficulty in logging onto their staff records and complete that all-important mandatory NHS e-learning!
As an apprentice, 80% of the time I will spend inside the actual hospital and my workplace environment (COVID guidance permitting) and one day a week from home to concentrate on any apprenticeship related tasks. This includes monthly assignments, meetings with my tutor online and completing other learning tasks that form as part of my eventual qualification. The team I work with in the library have been a great source of help in providing the resources and information needed to complete my assignments with all the evidence needed to meet the criteria. Crucially, a big part of that is down to direct work experience and drawing on situations that we might encounter – some more often than others.
Settling into this position has allowed me to look at how we can also improve some of the library’s systems and improving the functionality of user PCs available. Since I joined, they now have the latest version of Microsoft Office and, hopefully soon, will be more secure with automated erasure of any personal files/information that can be accidentally left behind. I am also able to put on my creative hat at times and design new signage to inform our visitors of necessary messages – including leaving the windows open in the winter for ventilation!
Getting to know the wider team across my department, and others in our space, has also been reassuring and I’ve already started doing a bit of extracurricular activity, such as joining the internal ‘Without Limits’ staff network and our forthcoming Living Library week! I’ve even been giving a few website and IT advice to other colleagues in the building, when the need has arisen – I have several ‘hats’ which I can wear besides being a Library Assistant. There is much more I found I could contribute to beyond my immediate job responsibilities, which is always an encouraging sign for building new skills.”