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Breaking through barriers

Monday 22nd August 2022

Breaking through barriers

Katie Greenan, NECS Finance Officer (pictured) describes her experience of working for NECS and joining the team during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In November 2020 I applied for a role at NECS, a Band 3 Finance Apprentice. I am profoundly deaf since birth and my first language is British Sign Language. From previous experiences it has proven significantly hard to break through the barriers during the application and interviewing process but there was never once a barrier during this process with NECS.

Upon offering me an interview, they automatically assigned the use of a British Sign Language interpreter and made sure everything was in place and that I was comfortable. The interview process was enjoyable, and I was offered the role.

In May 2021 I joined NECS as a Band 3 Finance Apprentice in FPAT (Financial Planning and Analysis Team). I started this role during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was such a strange time to be applying for a job and starting in post while not being in the office. I applied to a government scheme called Access To Work, which provided funding for a full time interpreter, which I was granted. I thought it would be tricky, starting a new job training online but it was a smooth process.

Although I had finance experience from previous roles, it was nowhere near the level of work in the FPA Team, the tasks sounded complex and intimidating but my nerves soon faded when I was introduced to the team, a group of wonderful, encouraging, and supportive people. I had meetings with every individual of the FPA Team on Microsoft Teams in my first week as a way of introduction to them all. I was picking up on work that I had never done before, with guidance along the way and I really felt a part of the team by the end of the first week. They were patient and really helpful, making sure I understood everything, and they were always happy to show me tasks and put their faith into me. In my role in FPAT I was shown how to populate and upload journals such as accruals, adjustments, payroll and budget journals. This was something I’d never seen before, so I feel I’ve been on such a learning curve.

During my role within FPAT, I went to college in Hartlepool on day release once a week to take my AAT Level 3 studies. NECS offered me the option to choose my place of study, whether it was online classes or attending an actual place of learning. I went on to pass all my exams at the first attempt with the guidance of my fantastic tutor and my FPAT manager. As of now I only have one final exam left to complete. This was all achieved in my first year at NECS, which shows how amazing they are with their support.

In March 2022, an opportunity came up for a Band 4 Finance Officer six months fixed term role in the Accounting Team. I applied for this role because I thought it would be a great opportunity to strengthen my skills and learn more aspects of the NECS finance function. I was offered the role and commenced it in April 2022. This role is different to the role I undertook in the FPA Team, but it’s a great way of gaining more expertise and building more connections with finance contacts within NECS and external contacts within the NHS. In this role, I am learning how to deal with the VAT and fill in the online VAT Return and I felt this was a huge accomplishment as I’d had no idea how VAT worked before.

I am still learning new things every day and NECS has been brilliant in helping me achieve my dreams and moulding me into a great team player. I am very excited to see what else my journey at NECS brings.