Young people in Andover who are keen to forge a career in the care sector are being urged to consider an apprenticeship as a route in. According to local employer Iain Slack, manager of Arbory Residential Home, social care apprenticeships can help ‘open doors’ and are vital to encourage the next generation of care professionals.
Iain explained: “We know that for many young people getting that first step onto the career ladder can be tough. For anyone considering joining the care sector, an apprenticeship can be a great way to undertake qualifications, training and gain practical experience within a work setting. This in turn can prove a fantastic foundation to enter a profession such as nursing.” Arbory, based on London Road in Andover, provides specialist care and support for up to 60 residents with dementia and other associated mental health needs. Employing a team of 70, the home was recently accredited as an Investors in People (IIP) Bronze standard company, for its commitment to staff development and wellbeing.
Iain added: “We take on a number of apprentices at Arbory each year and really value the enthusiasm and dedication they bring. People choose to work in a caring role because they wish to make a difference. It is hard work but the rewards are far greater than those you’d find sitting behind a desk.”
Terri Holloway, age 19, from Andover, is a support worker at Arbory. She joined as an apprentice just over a year ago. Terri commented: “Through my apprenticeship I complete coursework alongside working at Arbory and have a tutor that comes to see me once a month. The qualification I am working towards is a QCF in Social Care. “My apprenticeship will last for a few more months and I will then continue working at Arbory. My next aim is to complete my Level 3 QCF qualification and keep progressing by developing my skills and experience.”
She continued: “I had done a work placement in a care home before coming to Arbory so I had an idea of what to expect. I was still a bit like ‘wow’ at first, but I quickly settled in and found my feet after a couple of months. It is a long day, but it always goes really fast. “The best thing about my job is spending time with the residents. It makes it all worthwhile. I love getting to know them and hearing their stories. Unlike other jobs, you are caring for people, spending lots of time with them and getting to know them, so it is very rewarding but also quite upsetting sometimes, especially end of life care. Other people have said they couldn’t do the job that I do – but I couldn’t imagine sitting in an office all day!”
For Terri, the key skills you need to work in a care home setting are strong communication skills, the ability to listen to others, having good eye contact, being patient and being empathetic. She concluded: “In the future I would like to continue in care, perhaps as a paramedic or a nurse. Working at Arbory will give me really good experience and the chance to build up my qualifications. “To anyone considering doing an apprenticeship I would say I think it’s a good route in to a career. You can aim higher and it gives you opportunities. Just make sure you go to a good place to do your apprenticeship. I have been very lucky to find Arbory.”
For more information visit www.arbory.co.uk