Pioneering apprenticeship at Yeovil nursing home

Apprentice Matthew Wright with activities co-ordinator Danni Whitehouse

Playing its part in helping create the Government’s promised three million new apprenticeships by 2020, Yeovil College has been working with specialist dementia-care providers Camelot Care to develop an innovative new apprenticeship pathway, with the first apprentice starting his training this February.


Matthew Wright, aged 20, has just begun working at Acacia Nursing Home on Hendford Hill in Yeovil as an apprentice activities co-ordinator, shadowing Acacia’s existing activities co-ordinator Danni Whitehead who will pass on her knowledge and act as a mentor.


Matthew said: “It is really important for the people with dementia who live at Acacia to have a choice of activities to keep them engaged.


“I feel very lucky to have landed this new apprenticeship which will let me earn a recognised qualification in a sector that is getting bigger all the time.”


The pathway for the NVQ Level 2 qualification was put together by Honey Morris training support officer at Yeovil College and Clare Woodhead, operations manager for Camelot Care.


Clare Woodhead said: “Camelot Care has employed and trained apprentices for over ten years, but until now these have led to careers as care workers.


“Our apprentice will complete some of the same health and social care units as before, but the new pathway focuses particularly on providing him with the skills and knowledge to become a specialist activities co-ordinator.”


Honey Morris said: “Clare and I put our heads together after a recruitment day promoting apprenticeships, and we jointly identified a need and created this opportunity which opens up a new avenue for people like Matthew.


“This apprenticeship has been tailored from specific units from the College’s current NVQ level 2 in health and social care, but focusing on things like understanding communications and interaction in a dementia setting and understanding the benefits of providing an engaging programme of activities.”


Matthew will also receive training in providing support for residents when they go on trips outside the home, and for care-planning and identification of appropriate leisure activities.


He will be employed at Acacia for a full working week, with regular time out for formal training sessions at Yeovil District Hospital, whose classroom training programmes are tailored to meet the demands of his working environment.


His assessor will also visit him at Acacia on a regular basis to observe him putting his practical skills into play in the home.


Clare Woodhead said: “We believe it is very important for Camelot Care to be at the forefront in developing professionals to work in our sector, especially since more will be needed with each year that passes to support the ever-increasing number of people living with dementia.”


“I’m a great advocate for apprenticeships – they are a great way to give young people both the training and the qualifications to take them forwards in life, and who better than an established expert in the field to help bring on the next generation?”


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