Taking care of future with on-job training
A common misconception about apprenticeships is that they are just for professions such as hairdressing and construction, however apprenticeships are now offered in over 1,500 job roles, across 170 industries – including health and social care.
Care work can be demanding and challenging, yet is very varied and rewarding, and an apprentice can work for the NHS, in the private sector, for local authorities or in the voluntary sector; training in care planning, day-to-day care, leading teams and medication administration.
Expeditions Living, based in Cheltenham, provides personal home care and support to vulnerable individuals, to enable them to live fulfilling lives, and is a champion of apprenticeships in Gloucestershire.
Director of Expeditions Living, Last Sibanda, said: “We decided to take on an apprentice with Gloucestershire College as we felt it would be the best way to recruit flexible and knowledgeable staff that the business could nurture into its own culture and philosophy.
“The apprentices are valuable to our operations as they enable us to be flexible, creative and different in our approach. We get people who are willing to train in the field they want a career in; it is cost effective as it saves us time and money for recruitment; and GC profiles the candidates before we interview them, again making huge savings for us.
“We have retained three out of five apprentices we initially started with, which is great value for our investment. Charlotte, Beth and Harriet are still with us and two have gone on to work for the NHS but still work bank hours for us.”
The partnership has worked so well that Expeditions Living is currently recruiting another four Apprentice Support Workers to provide care and support to customers to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives. For a salary of £240 per week (30 hours), apprentices are expected to provide a professional, flexible and high standard of service to customers, with duties including day-to-day personal care, assisting with the preparation of meals and changing beds, all while maintaining comfort, dignity and privacy.
Last added: “Our apprentices are responsible for all aspects of health and wellbeing, as well as assessments and service user support plan reviews. They also undertake office administration duties and rota planning.”
19-year-old Beth Gisbourne from Evesham is currently doing her Advanced Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care with Expeditions Living, whilst studying for her Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care, and Level 3 Certificate in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care with Gloucestershire College. Her training is delivered entirely in the workplace, meaning she doesn’t have to attend classes at college but is assessed by a dedicated GC Assessor at work.
Beth chose to do an apprenticeship because she no longer wanted to continue with Sixth Form, saying: “I attended the first year of sixth form but found it wasn’t the right route of education for me. I dropped out of sixth form and started looking for an apprenticeship, and once I started I realised it was a much better option for me as you can learn on the job.
“My friend was working for Expeditions Living and she told me how much she was enjoying her apprenticeship and how supportive the GC Assessor was – this is what made me want to do the health and social care apprenticeship. Doing this has made me think more about my future and how I will benefit from the qualifications.
“I hope to progress one day into a mental health care setting, which had I not compelted an apprenticeship, I would not have even considered before. My Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications will help me advance by teaching me the basics concerning mental health and improving my knowledge on the subject.”
A typical day for Beth consists of helping clients get in and out of bed, making them food and drinks, assisting with washing and dressing, helping with shopping and much more to help them live happy, independent lives.
She said: “I learn something new every day, which could be anything from a training course on Makaton or first aid, to cooking something new.
“My GC Assessor has been so supportive with my college work but never interfered with my job. For my apprenticeship I do not need to attend college classes as my Assessor sends me the work to complete via email and any issues I have had, I can ask for help. She comes to observe me at work and we discuss my progress and her observations regularly.
“I would recommend completing an apprenticeship to anyone! They give you the opportunity to learn first-hand and earn money while doing so.”
If you’re an employer thinking of building a better workforce with GC apprenticeships, vlike Expeditions Living, visit www.gc-apprenticeships.co.uk or call the GC Business Hub on 01452 563403.