Jessenia’s Story


“My name is Jessenia, I am 19 years old and have a single ventricle heart condition. In October 2023, I started a 2-year level 3 apprenticeship at my local hospital in Milton Keynes to train to become a registered pharmacy technician. I chose to do an apprenticeship as I felt university was not for me due to previous struggles with keeping up in school but also because there are no universities in Milton Keynes and I did not feel comfortable with moving away from home because this is not something I have done before. Applying for an apprenticeship was a daunting process. I had been applying for various apprenticeships for 6 months prior to getting the one I am currently doing and received a lot of rejection due to my lack of experience as I had not worked before which was really disheartening but I felt it was important to remind myself that maybe it was for the best and that something better was to come. I believe that since stepping into the world of work I have become happier, more independent and have gained more confidence. I really think an apprenticeship was the best route for me as I enjoy the balance of completing written work and online courses alongside taking part in practical training.

When filling out the application for my apprenticeship I was not made to disclose my heart condition, all I was required to do was answer ‘yes or no’ to the question ‘Do you consider yourself to have a disability?’ But in my interview, I personally chose to be open and honest and so explained my heart condition to the interviewers but this did not have to be done. When I got the job, I had a conversation with the occupational health team before starting so that they had information about my heart condition on record like how it affects my day to day life and any adjustments I may need to carry out my role effectively. When I started my apprenticeship, a individualised risk assessment was carried out by my line manager and myself to identify anything that may pose a risk to me but not necessarily to others because of the fact that I use an electric wheelchair to get around when I go further afield within the hospital. I also explained how I may need to take time off for appointments and I was met with understanding as well as assistance in organising how this would be done. I was advised to fill out an ‘employee passport’ with my line manager which will move around with me if I were to change roles within my workplace and has information about my condition and how best to support me. I was also advised to submit an application for ‘Access to Work’ on the government website which is a grant that will be given to the employer which can be put towards implementing any adjustments I may need. The training provider who runs my course are also aware of my heart condition and have offered me additional support to help me get through the course. I make sure to have regular reviews with both my line manager and my course tutor to assess how I am getting on. Once I have completed this course and qualify as a pharmacy technician, I can register with the relevant professional bodies and then go on to apply for other jobs as well as progress further with more training if I wish to do so.”