Brazilian hospital worker shares apprenticeship journey from Porter to Healthcare Assistant at Surrey

Alex Bianco, 27 from Brazil, was looking to grow and develop his career in healthcare. He began his journey at Mount Alvernia Hospital, part of Circle Health Group in Guildford where he started in 2017. After leaving for a few years to work elsewhere, he returned to work at the hospital in catering.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

After taking on a brief stint as a Ward Host, Alex then went to work in Theatres as a Porter. Having developed a keen interest in the healthcare sector, an apprenticeship was the perfect route for Alex to begin a career as a nurse at the hospital.

“I was already working at the Mount Alvernia Hospital as a Porter at the time. My managers asked me if I was interested in a Healthcare Assistant role at the hospital, and they explained that it would give me the chance for me to grow professionally and develop my interpersonal skills.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Furthermore, my managers said that I would be a great addition to the team. So, I decided to enrol onto a Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprenticeship programme and pursue a different career,” Alex explained.

Alex Bianco from Mount Alvernia. Picture: submittedAlex Bianco from Mount Alvernia. Picture: submitted
Alex Bianco from Mount Alvernia. Picture: submitted

“I’d never thought about doing an apprenticeship until this opportunity came along.”

Alex decided to make this career change a reality and after having further discussions with his managers at Mount Alvernia Hospital, he enrolled onto a Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship programme in 2023, which was accredited through Teesside University. The apprenticeship programme was the first step he needed to complete ahead of obtaining his healthcare assistant qualification. The skills he obtained during the apprenticeship programme gave Alex the confidence he needed to work in a clinical environment.

“Transitioning from a porter at the hospital to a Healthcare Assistant wasn’t easy. However, the Level 3 Senior Healthcare Assistant Apprenticeship programme gave me the skills that I could pick up and use in my role at Mount Alvernia. The apprenticeship programme gave me the confidence that I could move forward during the first steps in my career in healthcare. This meant I could take the skills that I had learnt and develop them in a clinical environment,” Alex said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The apprenticeship route was the right environment for me. I was accepted onto the course and I’m grateful to my managers for encouraging me to take up the qualification. It’s opened up so many opportunities for me.

“I’ve been doing my apprenticeship for six months and the support from colleagues has been fantastic. I would say that has been the best bit about doing the qualification so far. I’ve also become more confident in my role and learnt new skills that I can use in my career, which has helped me to flourish.”

Alex is due to complete his qualification in August 2025. Reflecting on his experiences so far, he admits that it has not always been easy.

“I’ve never thought that I would be working as a Healthcare Assistant and every day I come across new challenges. Balancing working full-time and studying can be hard sometimes, especially not being a native English speaker. The most challenging part was making the initial change, going from a completely different area of work into this new role without any experience. The change was daunting at first, but I have wonderful colleagues, and everyone has supported me throughout my initial training, and they still support me now,” Alex said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Working towards the Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker qualification has changed Alex’s life. When asked what this means to him, he said: “I’m very hopeful this qualification will give me a more settled life in healthcare. Once my apprenticeship programme has finished, I want to start training to become an Operating Department Practitioner and push myself to become the best healthcare worker that I can be.”

Alex is one of fifteen apprentices who are working on or have completed their qualifications at Mount Alvernia Hospital. In 2023 alone, Circle Health Group supported over 200 apprentices who completed their apprenticeship qualifications.

Since launching the apprenticeship programme in 2017, 35 bespoke programmes aimed at recruiting and retaining talent in clinical and non-clinical roles. Have been launched by Circle Health Group across the UK.

Related topics: