Throckley apprentice thrives at Newcastle GP practice

Helen Gunn, practice manager for Fenham Hall Medical Group, contacted Newcastle City Learning, asking for help with the recruitment of a young apprentice

Carl Gibson
Carl Gibson

A GP practice can be a challenging environment for even the most experienced of employee. However, an apprentice has been given the skills and the knowledge to take it all in his stride.

Helen Gunn, practice manager for Fenham Hall Medical Group, contacted Newcastle City Learning, asking for help with the recruitment of a young apprentice.

Carl Gibson, from Throckley, was one of the candidates. He said: “When I left school, I contacted Newcastle City Learning and I did some assessments with them so they could get an idea of my skills and abilities which they used to help me find suitable apprenticeships to apply for. When I saw the position for Fenham Hall Medical Group, Newcastle City Learning helped me prepare me for the interview.”

Carl was successful in getting the apprenticeship and Helen is impressed with how he has continued to apply himself at the practice. We initially planned for the apprentice to help with the junior tasks such as photocopying notes, filing and taking care of our post, but Carl soon mastered these and he was keen to take on more responsibility. We’re now training Carl as a receptionist, so he’s now dealing with patient queries over the phone and face to face.”

Carl also used his existing IT skills to challenge how they work. He’s made improvements to the practice’s patient newsletter and their website. He is now looking at how they communicate with the younger patients and introducing the use of social media.

Carl has since gone on to win Apprentice of the Year 2013 award at the annual Celebration of Success Awards.

Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentices’ ability and the industry sector. The minimum salary is £2.65 per hour. However, many employers do pay more.

Elaine Withycombe, employment and skills coordinator for Newcastle City Learning said: “Different businesses have different needs when it comes to recruiting an apprentice. We work with the employers to understand the types of candidates they are looking for. We assess all potential candidates to ensure the apprenticeship is the correct route for them.”

Newcastle City Learning continues to broaden their apprenticeship program and when gaps in local skills provision are identified, new courses will be developed to respond to this.

Marketing apprenticeships were previously never offered in the North East.

Newcastle City Learning responded to the growing need for skills in this area and developed their marketing course and are now recruiting apprentices for several local employers. This new course will start soon.

They have also added ICT for users course, a contact centre operatives course and they are developing a design course which will be ready later this year.

If you want to recruit an apprentice or would like to know more, phone Newcastle City Learning on 0191 277 3506 or email


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