My apprenticeship journey in Clinical Engineering by Larissa Thornley-Johnstone

Find out about Larissa’s apprenticeship journey and her experiences so far.

My name is Larissa Thornley-Johnstone; previously before applying for the Medical Engineering Apprenticeship I was studying an extended Diploma in Biomedical science at Selby College. I’ve always had an interest in science and healthcare. I have grown up on a farm which is the reason why I enjoy making and tinkering with things, it also developed a strong liking towards engineering.

I knew I wanted to work within the NHS for a while before applying; this is because I have a lot of respect for how they help and care for the patients. I wanted to be a part of that, but in a way that would suit me and I liked the idea of the engineering route. Therefore I began searching for an apprenticeship; I found the Medical Engineering Apprenticeship on the NHS jobs website and applied for it.

The recruitment process went pretty smoothly for me, it started with the assessment day, and then I was contacted for an interview. After the interview I was asked to return back the following day and that’s where I was offered the job. The recruitment process was quite lengthy but it was very necessary.

The work place is even better than I expected, I’m really enjoying it. Everyone is happy to help and I have learnt so much already, from how to work machinery in the mechanical workshop to helping out with some of the servicing down on the Linac’s. Currently I am making a tapping hammer in the workshop that consists of working on some big machinery, such as Lathes and milling machines. This has been a good learning point for me, and it’s been very rewarding seeing the end product of what I have created.

Starting work in the medical physics environment was very different to what I was use to as I’ve never worked somewhere as professional before, however even though it is professional, it is a great place to work. Furthermore whilst working here I’ve built up some good relationships, this is because it is the sort of role where you do work with your colleagues a lot of the time, therefore you do get to know each other quite well. Our service benefits the patients within the NHS massively, this is because we service, maintain and design medical equipment to help the patient’s treatment be as comfortable and as smooth as possible. Without us the cancer machines could malfunction or not be safe for use, therefore treatment could be delayed or be put on hold for some patient’s and we don’t want that.

Starting this apprenticeship has made me want to continue to improve and better myself within the medical physics sector, my future ambitions are to progress onto the degree apprenticeship and eventually become a medical clinical technologist.


Apprentice profile

Name: Larissa Thornley-Johnstone
Age: 18 years
Apprenticeship: 1st year Level 4 Healthcare Science Diploma Apprentice
Employer: Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Training Provider: Dudley College / Avensys Medical