9 February 2022

“I set up my own business thanks to an Apprenticeship!” – Danielle’s story

Morning Dannielle! Please tell us your name, what your job is and what Apprenticeship you are doing or have just completed?

Hi! My name is Dannielle Dunn and I am the Owner / Director at cosmetics manufacturer ‘Divine Box’. I recently started a Level 5 Apprenticeship in Ops Management.

Can you tell us a little bit about how your career within care, specifically Residential Childcare – where it all started and how your career has developed to where it is now?

At 16 I Went to college to do the equivalent of what was then known as NVQ level 2 in Care, and soon after, began work in the care industry. I started off in the community for the elderly before moving on to work with people with learning disabilities.

I went on to study my NVQ level 3 and continued in the field, eventually taking up position of Senior Care Worker and then Care Co-ordinator. I worked very long hours, sometimes doing a sleep-in during the night and then straight into the office for work the next day; it was hard work but was ultimately very rewarding.

After a number of years, I moved back to Stoke to join Acacia Training as an assessor for people studying Health and Social Care. This was and still is a challenging role, but, like my past career, it taught me new skills.

It was during this time that I decided to enroll on a Level 5 Apprenticeship in Ops Management, which has given me even more confidence in my own abilities; I thought “if I can encourage someone to go for it, then why can’t I go self -employed myself?”.

During the start of the recent lockdown, I made the difficult decision to go self-employed, which has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. The ecommerce platform on which Divine Box operates has thrived, and I have been able to build a close knit and supportive team around me. My Mum and Dad are both on the wholesale team, with a close friend doing the admin, and my partner is working alongside me every step of the way.

How has the Apprenticeship training and support helped your career progression?

I initially wanted to begin the Apprenticeship because I have always been a creative person, but wanted to learn the business side of things. I was a member of several online communities during lockdown, but the Apprenticeship gave me a much better understanding of the business side things, and I now feel confident and ready to take this on myself.

What, if anything, did you know about Apprenticeships before you did one yourself?

Due to working with Acacia Training, I was aware of the many and great benefits of Apprenticeships. I have always thought that they are massively important. You really get to develop as person and grow in areas you didn’t know you could. Thanks to Apprenticeships, there is always an opportunity to learn, whatever field or industry it might be in.

What has been your experience of juggling the Apprenticeship training and working full time?

This year I have made the promise to myself to set aside time for personal development. The Apprenticeship has allowed me to give admin staff more hours and has encouraged me to manage the business in a more ‘hands off’ management capacity. This new viewpoint will give me time and a reason to concentrate on myself and develop myself to manage the business. It’s a very exciting time!

Do you thimk other people realise that anyone of any age can access Apprenticeship training up to Degree and even Master’s degree level?

I don’t think they do! I’m all for spreading the word and have already discussed doing an Apprenticeship with my Head of Administration at Divine Box. Unless I worked for Acacia, I probably wouldn’t have known the benefits or even the possibility to enrol on an Apprenticeship at this point of my journey. It was when I was teaching – I realised that one of my eldest learners was 69 and wanted to learn something before she retired. It was a lightbulb moment!

What Benefits of completing an Apprenticeship as an employed adult have you seen?

A former colleague of mine was in her 50s and worked at a care provider. She completed an Apprenticeship which taught her a great deal in management, bookkeeping and accounting. The Apprenticeship taught her what she needed to run a business, and one of her projects on the Apprenticeship was to set up a business plan, which I helped her put together and developed with policies and procedures. This business plan eventually became the basis of her own business.

In the end, thanks to the knowledge gained on the Level 5 Apprenticeship in Care, my colleague went on to set up her own care home!

What advice would you give to someone who might be considering doing an Apprenticeship for the first time?

Quite simply “To absolutely go for it. Take the leap and do it.”

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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