From education to employment

An Apprenticeship led to two promotions in just over six months for Care Worker who was made redundant during the pandemic.

Enrolling in an employer-paid apprenticeship enabled James Machin-Brzozowski to take the next step in his career, whilst also unlocking benefits for employer through tailored training and business upskilling  

An apprenticeship through Acacia Training, an independent training provider, has helped James Machin-Brzozowski take the next step in his career, securing two promotions in just six months, to become Care Home Manager at Weston House Residential Home. As studies reveal care worker vacancies have risen to a record high (by 52%), and 95% of care providers reporting a struggle to recruit staff, apprenticeships, such as the Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care which James undertook in September 2020, are vital for the care sector’s survival. 

In October 2020, James, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, was made redundant when his previous employer went into administration. He applied for a role as Activities Coordinator with Weston House Residential Home in Weston Coyney. The home is a 33 bedded residential home offering personal care or mental health support. Since then, James decided to enrol on an apprenticeship, a Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care alongside Level 2 Maths and English, and has never looked back. 

“I decided to do an apprenticeship with Acacia Training as it combined on-the-job training alongside the off-the-job assignments which I needed to complete. This gave me a better understanding of key legislation when caring for people, alongside gaining the correct skills to enable me to care properly for those residents I am looking after. A lot of people don’t realise you can actually undertake an apprenticeship as an adult, I started mine at aged 31, but it gives you a nice balance as it isn’t all assignments with a lot of it being observations whilst you’re working. This helped me a lot as writing isn’t my strongest skill”, says James. 

“One of the best things about doing an apprenticeship is the opportunity it gives you for progression. Within six months, I was promoted to a new position as home care coordinator and have recently been promoted again to Registered Manager after undertaking a further Level 5 qualification in ‘Management in Social Care’. The courses have given me a lot of knowledge in Health and Social Care which has built my confidence to complete my daily duties within my role. My employer has funded the course and given me time to study which is great”, added James.

The CIPD reports that hiring an apprentice brings a number of benefits to employers including 80% reporting to have maintained or improved future skills in their business and 70% of employers seeing improvements in the services they offer. The additional knowledge given to apprentices particularly in the care sector can help boost care home ratings dramatically. 

Jodie McVay, Director at Weston House, commented:

“I am very proud of James. He started at Weston House as an activities coordinator and, as time progressed, he began to take on more responsibility. We are a company who encourages staff to take on training as we want them to climb the ladder and continue to improve.

“The depth of training given through Acacia Training is incredible. The apprenticeship is tailored to the individual home and the practices we do, which helps us to enhance our business and build our reputation. The additional training in Maths and English also builds on this as it gives staff a more fluid and thorough approach to writing reports which helps the business run more smoothly.

“One of the many advantages of having an apprentice is the ability to train someone with little or no prior experience. Staff can learn how to do things correctly from the start, and we believe in giving everyone the chance to progress as we all need to start somewhere. Within our home, we ensure all staff are paid the same as other members of the team as everyone is a valued member of the team, including James, who has done an incredible job to progress the way he has.”

Since completing his apprenticeship, James has given some advice to future apprentices: “My advice for anyone looking to do an apprenticeship is to recognise that it is a big commitment and you have to want to learn more in order to achieve more from the courses. Don’t let failure set you back, I found the Maths element particularly difficult but I passed on the second time after getting additional support from my tutor.

“Moving forward, I am looking forward to getting stuck into my new role as manager whilst I help the care home I am in to boost their rating. As I continue to develop within the role, I will look to see how I can further this progression within the care sector and what my options for this are.”

Acacia Training has been supporting the development of adult learners for more than 20 years, via apprenticeships, traineeships and other educational programmes, with specialisms in Adult Health & Social Care, Children & Young People’s Services, Dental Nursing, Beauty, Sport & Fitness, Adult Education & Training and Business, Management & Digital. 

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