7 March 2019 - A Week in the Life of a Communications Apprentice

Elena20 year old Elena Winstanley from Wigan is developing her career in public relations as she becomes North West Ambulance Service’s first communications apprentice.

From celebrating children who have dialled 999 to arranging ambulance visits to schools, Elena gets involved in all aspects of communications whilst studying for an NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration.

Working full time at the trust’s Bolton headquarters, she spends four hours a week working on coursework and has regular meetings with her tutor.

Elena says: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship! I’m always busy, always meeting new people and learning new things each day.

“I’ve made a loads of new friends who are very supportive and this job has really boosted my confidence!”

After studying Health and Social Care at Runshaw College, Elena decided she wanted to try something different and found that an apprenticeship was the perfect way to learn new skills whilst earning a wage.

Elena continues, “I found it difficult to find the right apprenticeship but this one really caught my eye as it was completely suited to me and was exactly what I was looking for.

“I would certainly recommend apprenticeships, they are ideal for young learners without much experience to start their career. I definitely feel like I’ve made the right decision.”

The trust’s communications and engagement team act as the voice of the organisation, responsible for managing NWAS’ reputation and engaging with staff and the public through a number of different channels.

Head of Communications, Julie Treharne, said: “Elena has had a very positive impact on the communications and engagement team.  She is always willing to help, is happy and friendly and brings a fresh approach to everything we do; from creative brainstorming  for campaigns and events to how to improve staff engagement to volunteering to help engage with the public at community events.

“She has been with us almost 10 months now and settled in as a popular and valuable team member immediately.  Elena undertakes a range of administrative functions for us as well as having projects of her own.  Two examples includes producing and presenting a team performance dashboard at every team meeting as well as leading on a project to recognise the NHS’ 70th birthday and thank staff. 

“Elena is well organised and a good prioritiser, she completes her coursework on time and is always looking to see how she can develop further.”

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, NWAS is currently employing 272 apprentices in a wide range of roles including frontline emergency medical technicians as well as ICT, finance and fleet mechanics.


Elena shares her week:



As it’s the beginning of the week, I check all of our inboxes first before our huddle as we tend to have a lot of messages in there that have come in through the weekend. I’m responsible for looking after the general communications enquiries inbox as well as the inbox for FOI requests. Each day the team spend 15 minutes in the ‘huddle’ where everyone mentions one thing they need to get done today and flags up any important information.


I then messaged a few hotels in the local area to see how much they charge for a two hour meeting, sent a reminder email out to the team about mandatory training and organised a commendation for a child who had called 999 in an emergency.


Today I had my NVQ visit with my tutor to see how I’m getting on – I have one catch up visit every month where my tutor reviews my last piece of work and then will assign me a new piece of coursework.

Next I edited the dashboard for the team meeting. I created the team’s dashboard from scratch and show the dashboard at our team meetings. The dashboard contains some really useful information such as remaining holidays, our current FOI performance, our top news stories and upcoming events.


NWAS News – We have an NWAS News section on our intranet and I add new stories to the intranet every Tuesday.


FOI admin – I log all of our FOIs, do the FOI reports and send an FOI reminder out every Wednesday.


Coursework on business fundamentals – As part of my apprenticeship, I have to spend four hours a week doing my coursework and I tend to do it on a Wednesday afternoon.


Team meeting – We have our team meeting on a Thursday every two weeks to discuss our plans and issues.


Estuary Point pictures – We have recently opened a new site in Liverpool and we have named our meeting rooms after old docks in Liverpool. My task was to try and get some pictures of the docks so we can get them professionally printed and put the pictures up in our meeting rooms.


Update notice board – In our main office, we have a notice board and I update the notice board every week. The notice board shows what meetings people have, who’s on leave and who is on bulletin or call the following week.


Update action plan – I have to update my action plan once a month to show what I have learnt in my 1-1 sessions and how I have implemented what I have learned into the workplace.

I then emailed a few managers within the trust to try and get some pictures of those worked at the trust and have sadly passed away. We put their names and picture onto a PowerPoint slide so we can remember them at our awards ceremony.


  • Creating new logs for new financial year
  • Getting bits for events
  • Gathering contact details and sending them to our stakeholders.