4 February 2022

National Apprenticeship Week – James’ Story

This National Apprenticeship Week, we are looking at the exciting benefits of undertaking an Apprenticeship through the eyes of the Apprentices that we have had the pleasure of working with.

First in the Spotlight is James, who is a Home Care Co-ordinator at Weston House Residential Home. James was left without a job when his previous employer went into administration, and he was made redundant in October 2020. Since then, James decided to enrol on an apprenticeship and has never looked back!

James, age 32 from Newcastle-under-Lyme, was left without an income when his employer, Intu Potteries, went into administration and he was made redundant in October 2020. He applied for a role as Activities Co-ordinator with Weston House Residential Home in Weston Coyney. The home is a 33 bedded residential home offering personal care or mental health support.

He enrolled on an Apprenticeship with Acacia Training, which combined his new role at the care home with on-the-job and off-the-job training in residential care. Within six months, he was promoted to a new position as home care coordinator and is now set to support the Registered Manager with the management of the residential home when he completes a further qualification in care home management later this year.

In his previous career, James had worked as cabin crew for Thomson Holidays and in hospitality management, before moving into customer services management and corporate responsibility at Intu Potteries. He believes his experience in a customer-facing role was key to settling into his new career in care.

He explains: “I had never, ever considered a career in care before I was made redundant, and I never thought it would be a job I would end up in. I initially took on the role of activities coordinator to get me through lockdown but I have really, really enjoyed it and found it so rewarding.

Then I started to take on some of the caring responsibilities when there were staff shortages. To start with I was a bit worried about whether I would be able to do the personal care aspect, but there is so much more to it than that. When you get to know your residents, it’s about caring for them and meeting their needs, you want to do it help them in any way you can.

No two days are the same. the residents bring so much joy to me. I feel like I’ve achieved something at the end of the day. A thank you from a resident goes a long way and reminds you that you are doing a good job and why you do it. I love my job so much. This is where I’m going to be.”

He adds: “In my retail and hospitality career, I had a lot of experience managing people and in customer services, getting to know and deal with people from all walks of life. I was also IOSH trained in health and safety and used to completing risk assessments and all of this is useful in my new role. Although it is very different, to me it is still looking after people and showing compassion, whether in the shopping centre or in the care home. I have always been a people person and not one to sit behind a desk.

People may be surprised that there are lots of different types of roles in the care sector. As an activities co-ordinator, I arranged meals out, visits to local beauty spots, outdoor activities, hair and nails appointments and more – all based on what the residents asked for. Now as the care co-ordinator, I speak to GPs and do all the care plans, liaising with outside professionals to ensure the right care is in place for our residents.”

Talking about his Apprenticeship, James says: “The apprenticeship in residential care has involved resitting my functional skills in English and maths. It’s been a long time since I came out of education so I wasn’t sure how I would get on, but it’s been really good. The support and guidance from my tutor has been great and I have been guided through the process every step of the way.

The course has given me a lot of knowledge in Health and Social Care which has built my confidence to complete my daily duties within my role. My employer has funded the course and given me time to study.”

Amy Fowles, Director of Quality at Acacia Training, says: “James is a great example of the kind of person who can make a real difference to some of our most vulnerable members of society by taking his past skills, experience and values into a new career in health and social care. 

Care homes and care settings have experienced major operational challenges in recent years, not least a huge shortage of staff to fill vacancies and progress their careers.

We’re delighted with the progress that James has made during his Apprenticeship with Acacia Training, and we’d urge anyone who is currently considering their career options to consider retraining with us for a rewarding career caring for others.”

For more information about the Health and Social Care professional career pathway with Acacia Training, please visit www.acaciatraining.co.uk/pcp

James' Apprenticeship Q&A

Apprenticeship being undertaken with Acacia Training

Level 3 Health & Social Care

What encouraged you to undertake an Apprenticeship

I want to be a registered manager so need to complete my level 3 in order to complete my level 5

In your opinion, what has been the best thing about undertaking an Apprenticeship?

Gaining the new knowledge that I have to support me within my role.

Acacia has given me the confidence to undertake the Apprenticeship as I have been out of education for manager years. My employer has funded and given me the time to complete the Apprenticeship to self-develop

I have gained a lot of knowledge within Health & Social Care which has built my confidence to complete my daily duties within my role.

I definitely would recommend completing an Apprenticeship with Acacia the support and guidance from tutor has been great and I’ve been guided through the process every step of the way.

To find out how you could benefit from a fully funded Apprenticeship, speak to a member of our expert team today at skills@acaciatraining.co.uk or call us on 01782 646 346

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