Pilgrim pharmacy manager becomes university’s 100th degree level apprentice

Pharmacy department lead at Pilgrim hospital, Sarah Chester-Buckley, recently became the 100th apprentice at the University of Lincoln’s International Business School, when she joined the latest group of managers on its Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA).

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Sarah, who joined United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) as a YTS student pharmacy technician more than 25 years ago, then went on to work in pharmaceutical research before re-joining the Trust in 1996, working at Lincoln County Hospital. She returned to Pilgrim to lead the pharmacy team as the operations manager three years’ ago.

Sarah, who has never previously studied at university, said: “I can’t believe how amazing the university experience has been already. When I was at school we only had one BBC computer – when I walked into the state of the art library on campus I was just amazed.

“The technology on offer for our learning journey is just fantastic, and the building is stunning. There is a real vibe around campus – it just makes you want to learn.

“My line manager has previously studied a Masters in Business Administration course and is hugely supportive of me – I’m really excited about leading projects at work with my newly acquired academic theory behind me.

“I know this will be a challenge, but with the support of my new class-mates I know I’ll get there. I already feel that I’m part of a strong team with the others and I can’t wait to get started on the course.”

The SLMDA at Lincoln International Business School enables employers across a range of industries to develop their in-house management teams using the Apprenticeship Levy.

These work-based learning programmes are designed to be flexible and accessible for professionals to combine part-time study with their careers, comprising a balance of on and off-the-job training. On successful completion, apprentices can graduate with a degree level qualification, including the prestigious MBA in leadership.

Claire Flavell, ULHT’s Talent Academy Strategic Lead, said: “We’re delighted that we have been able to support Sarah with her career progression within the Trust.
As a member of our first cohort on the SLMD it provides confirmation of how far our staff can develop.

“For so many of our staff, the thought of stepping back into a learning environment after a long time out of the classroom can be a daunting prospect.

“The use of apprenticeships within our career pathways provides staff with the opportunity to apply in practice the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom.

“This approach allows both the Trust and its apprentices to see the ongoing benefit of newly acquired skills being incorporated into their day-to-day roles within the organisation.”

For more information on the Talent Academy and the opportunities available, visit the ULHT website.