Shannon Dent

Making a difference to people’s lives as an adult social care worker

HELPING to make a difference to people’s lives –that’s what Shannon Dent is now doing every day as she furthers her career as an adult social worker.

Shannon, who studied for her Level 3 Health and Social Care qualification with Progress to Excellence Ltd, is based at the heart of the community in Cumbria.

She said: “In my job in adult social care, I’m working with the community, making sure I am keeping the most vulnerable people safe as well as sourcing their care packages and dealing with their discharges from hospital.

“As someone who didn’t particularly enjoy school and didn’t want to go further down the academic route when I was younger, it was very difficult to be certain what I wanted to do as a career.

“That’s what made taking up an apprenticeship perfect and it’s set me up for a rewarding career in health and social care.”

Shannon actually achieved most of her educational qualifications once she had left school, gaining her maths and English as well as completing the Health and Social Care level 3 qualification.

As a result, she was able to apply – and successfully be appointed – to her current job and begin her training as an adult social worker.

She continued: “Most importantly, I am now working alongside many talented and knowledgeable professionals who are helping me with my own personal development. It was by gaining the Health and Social Care qualification that enabled me to begin this new career– in three years’ time I will be a fully qualified social worker.”

Shannon discovered the apprenticeship route while working in her original job role in an adult social care setting. After taking up a new post, she continued with her Progress to Excellence Ltd course in her own time and, because she was again employed in a care environment, found the set assignments relevant to the job she was doing.

She said: “My tutor was incredible. She was there to answer my questions whenever needed, explaining exactly what was required and giving me deadlines to meet to ensure my work was completed on time.

“We also had regular phone calls to support me with my work. Everything on the programme ran very smoothly and I was pleased to have been offered both my maths and English qualifications alongside my course. This really helped me to get where I am today.

“I got the best of both worlds. I was able to work full-time and get a wage as well as studying. I could study as I when I wanted to, fitting in assignments around other commitments in my life - as long as I was meeting my deadlines, all was fine.

“Everything on the course was so easy to manage and this is what made my workload so easy. I could always speak to someone from the Progress to Excellence Ltd team if I had a problem and nothing was ever an issue.”

Adult social care apprentices work with vulnerable people who need care and support in the community. This could include people with learning disabilities and/or autism, physical disabilities, ex-offenders, recovering addicts or older people.

They work alongside experienced staff to gain valuable work experience as well as being trained to develop job-specific skills and do an Adult Social Care qualification.

Most apprenticeships last between 12 months and two years and are primarily work-based, allowing apprentices to develop practical skills.

How an apprentice can improve productivity for businesses

A business employing apprentices can better plan for the future and fill industry skills gaps, with research showing that 25 per cent of former apprentices are promoted within 12 months of achieving their qualification.

Apprentices can deliver real returns to a business’ bottom line. A recent survey showed that 76 per cent of employers said apprentices helped them to improve productivity and to be more competitive, with the average apprenticeship improve productivity by £214 a week – that’s worth £11,000 a year.

Training apprentices, they agreed, is a cost-effective way of training staff. With apprenticeships now being open to anyone aged 16-plus who meets the eligibility criteria, now has never been a better time to train staff via apprenticeships.

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