February 2024

Blog | National Apprenticeship Week spotlight – David Sanchez Heredia

By Carrie Mok

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This week we’re celebrating all things apprenticeships across our website and social media platforms. We’ll be hearing from our fantastic apprentices who are training in all sorts of fields – from nursing and care workers to construction and team leaders, as well as the employers that are working with them and our own staff who support both sides by creating bespoke programmes of training.

David Sanchez Heredia is one of the apprentices training within University College of Birmingham’s Centre of Apprenticeships, having completed his Level 5 Nursing Associate in November 2023. He is now working on his degree top-up.

Previously working as a Land Surveyor in Spain, David moved to the UK 11 years ago. Without an apprenticeship he wouldn’t have been able to survive, he says, if he had gone down the traditional academic route, as the ability to earn while he learns has given him the opportunity to retrain: “I couldn’t afford to not work with my daughter being young still, so I’m thankful for the opportunity of an apprenticeship!”.

David had been working at Cygnet in a variety of roles throughout the years and was recommended to start a Nursing apprenticeship by the Cygnet team. His passion for nursing lies in his love for helping people. His wife, in fact, is a social worker too.

David practising ECG with a colleague

“When you work with people who really need you, whether because they have been abused or they don’t have parents or that traditional family support structure, when they end up in hospital with mental health needs, it is the only support they may have,” David explained. “My work fulfils me every day, I really love it. I’m working, studying and I’m helping people. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Over 18 months of his nursing associate apprenticeship, David’s stand-out experiences include working on different types of wards while on his placement as well as learning to identify treatments and help different kinds of people. “I went to learning disability wards, general hospital, attended surgeries such as a hip replacement, worked with children and worked with people with eating disorders.”

He also enjoyed his lab days at University College Birmingham where lecturers bring together apprentices for in-person training at the Health Skills and Simulation Suite. “The lab is like nothing I’ve ever seen before!” he says, “They have a simulated ward, manikins that speak – I really enjoyed my lab days.”

David's hard work earned him Cygnet Group's Learner of the Year award alongside Kennedy Bowman, another of University College Birmingham's apprentices.

Having been at Cygnet for 11 years and entering a new career in the last few years, David appreciates  the life experiences he’s had and finds himself frequently sharing advice to his colleagues, “I’m like the grandfather at Cygnet! People come to me for advice!”.

Learn more about apprenticeships and how both employers and learners can flourish with training from University College Birmingham here.

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