At a time when over 700,000 young people aged 16-24 are unemployed and there is little inspiration or motivation for building careers, we chat to three Abbeyfield employees about their journey from apprentice to carer, through the Abbeyfield Care Academy.
“It’s probably the best decision I’ve ever made.” Says 17-year-old Kayleigh Baber of her decision to join the Society’s apprentice scheme. “Joining the Academy was really daunting at first as I was only 16 but I received so much support from the Society, I’d say as a result of that, I’ve changed as a person and really grown up. I’m hoping to complete my level 3 NVQ and eventually become a lead night carer.”
Kayleigh joined the Care Academy in November 2013, along with other apprentices and members of the Society’s staff. After a year-long apprenticeship, combining her studying with gaining hands on experience, she landed a permanent job at St Martins residential home in Larkfield.
Recognising that the adult care sector was in need of high quality staff, the Society launched the Care Academy in 2013. The in-house programme was designed to offer support and development to its staff, as well as working with young students studying health and social care subjects.
Ayla Beaney, aged 21 and Rebecca Bateman, aged 22, undertook their apprenticeships alongside Kayleigh and are also now working with us as carers, Ayla at Rogers House in Wigmore and Rebecca at Greensted in Wateringbury.
Ayla says, “The apprenticeship was a great way to gain experience whilst earning an NVQ. Currently I’m working on my safe handling of medication training and then I will work towards my level 3 NVQ, I’m hoping to become a senior carer.”
Rebecca, who has a long-term goal of being a paramedic, agrees it has helped her develop her skills greatly, “It was a great way to gain care experience and really helped to build my confidence.”
Cath Whitney, senior training consultant at the Society said: “All of the apprentices worked so hard throughout the programme, they are determined and passionate about their future careers and the whole Society is very proud of them.”