Catching up with ex-student Harley Smith

It’s Employability & Apprenticeship Week here at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and we’ve been catching up with one of our ex-students Harley Smith who was kind enough to share her journey with us. As a College, we are always keen to encourage both alumni and external guest speakers to come back to the Sixth Form to help engage, inspire and encourage students to explore different career avenues and to learn about our alumni’s personal experiences here at the Sixth Form College.

Here’s Harley’s Story:

Harley enrolled at the Sixth Form College back in 2010 and was one of the first cohort to be taught in the brand new building on Leek Road. Applying to the Sixth Form College was actually quite a milestone, especially after a challenging year prior which contributed to her struggling in her GCSE exams, but she never let that stop her. Upon joining the College, Hareley enrolled on BTEC Health & Social Care alongside resitting her Math GCSE.

From the moment she started studying Health & Social Care, it was clear that a career in nursing was what she wanted to pursue, and so alongside her studies, Harley volunteered at Royal Stoke Hospital assisting on the wards (mainly Midwifery and Surgical) to get a feel for a career in the NHS. After completing her studies at the Sixth Form College, Harley secured a Nursing Assistant Apprenticeship on the Trauma and Orthopaedic Ward and the rest is,  as they say, history. 

Harley has progressed through the NHS and is now a Registered Nursing Associate, during her apprenticeship, Harley was supported through a degree in Adult Nursing where she gained a 1st Class Degree! After a successful career in the Trauma and Orthopaedic was for Acute Injury as moving across to the Intensive Care Unit. Harley then decided that she wanted to give back to Nursing Assistants and dedicate her time to the Development of Nursing Assistants throughout the Trust.

After speaking to us, Harley reflected on her time at the Sixth Form College, commenting: 

“I will be forever grateful to the College for believing in me and giving me a chance. During my studies, I was able to get a good insight into different health care roles available and advice to get me on the right track. 

One of the most invaluable services at the College was being able to visit their onsite careers advisors who helped me to formulate a plan and cement what career path I wanted to follow.”