My apprenticeship journey: finance is not just numbers

by Josh Penston

03 February 2020


Josh Penston started his NHS career as a business management administration apprentice and is currently finance PMO admin at Gloucestershire Hospital NHS Foundations Trust. Find out more about the projects he was involved with during his apprenticeship and why working in finance is not just about the numbers.

Having completed a year of sixth form I decided the school life wasn’t for me anymore. After reviewing my options, I decided my best route was probably an apprenticeship. After searching around to see what was out there, I came across a role within the finance and cost improvement programme management office at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS FT. A month after applying, I joined the team as a business administration level 3 apprentice. Fast forward 12 months to completing my apprenticeship, I was offered a permanent role within the team.

There’s not a thing I would have changed about my apprenticeship journey. I grew so much as a person, as did my knowledge of the NHS and the different teams that make it run. I gained the HFMA introductory award in healthcare finance and became a value maker for Future-Focused Finance. As part of my apprenticeship journey, I’ve spent time with many different teams - I even spent the day with the theatres team in a live theatre dressed in scrubs!

One of the highlights was being honoured as outstanding apprentice of the trust for setting up and co-ordinating financial awareness training for the hospital and organising a countywide finance conference. I also had the chance to use my positive experience and newly gained skills, to promote apprenticeships on the local radio during National Apprenticeship Week 2019 and at the National Apprenticeship Show 2019.

In July last year, my line manager nominated me for the Rising Star award in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2019. After a nervous wait, I was shortlisted for the South West region and made it through as a finalist. We travelled down to Somerset and heard about all the great work the other finalists have been doing in their workplace. After a nerve-wracking morning, I proudly came highly commended in the Rising Star category for the South West Region. 

A few months later, I had the opportunity to present alongside my colleagues and our director of finance at the HFMA South West conference. Our Proud moments presentation was a great way to show off what we had accomplished!

If you are considering an apprenticeship within an NHS organisation, my advice is to go for it. It was a great route for me to follow when I left school and I’m proud I took on all the opportunities that came my way – I know these will benefit my career in the long run. A year ago I did not expect to have been co-ordinating a countywide finance conference for over 120 people. I have managed to offer support to the finance team and to enable them to achieve many things in the past year that they wouldn’t have without me.


You can follow Josh’s journey on Twitter at @GHFTFinance and @JoshPenston

Find out more about the HFMA accounting apprenticeship.

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