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Apprenticeship success sign posts the way forward for leading care provider

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LEADING provider of care and support services to vulnerable adults National Care Group is shining a spotlight on one of its most successful apprentices as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2022.

27-year-old Chris Wright only joined the business on a short-term admin contract in November 2020, but after impressing quickly, he has already transitioned into a full-time HR assistant role. Backed by CIPD-led apprenticeship training, Chris is now working towards a HR advisor position as a long-term career move within the company.

National Apprenticeship Week comes as the care profession seeks to tackle a rising skills gap in the industry, with national campaigns, such as the government’s ‘Made with Care’ initiative, aiming to fulfil the 105,000 vacancies in adult social care needed ahead of a 2035 deadline.

Chris said: “An apprenticeship is a chance to find something fulfilling and rewarding. Taking on a career in care may seem like a daunting prospect, but from day one I can’t think of another job where you learn as much as you do by just diving right in. Of course, you have mentors and training, but it’s an incredible experience moving into the more practical aspects of care straight-away by learning and engaging with people and understanding their needs.”

Formalised last September, National Care Group introduced its Academy and Support Worker Apprenticeship programme. Paving the way for school leavers to train and develop, it offers candidates the opportunity to learn on the job and gain care qualifications at the same time.

As a successful apprentice at the care provider, Chris has had the opportunity to refine the messaging of the current scheme, working with accredited programme providers such as the CIPD, of which Chris is currently undertaking a level five HR consultant/partner training certification to progress and develop his skills.

Individuals undertaking National Care Group’s programme spend around 80% of their training on the job, with the remaining time dedicated to supporting studies, helping their growing skill base.

Crucially, apprentices are paid above a national minimum wage, something that Chris feels makes National Care Group stand out in the sector.

He added: “Everyone knows from the news agenda that care isn’t the highest paid job around. But what National Care Group do is realise and value the time and effort young people are putting in, both emotionally and practically, to help support those in need. It’s an inclusive and special programme, recognising that all cultures and backgrounds can make a difference, allowing everyone to fulfil their potential.”

Daily roles that Chris undertakes include supporting registered managers with care policies and data management, with special measures around COVID-19 taking up a huge part of his time.

For people director at National Care Group Claire Leake, it’s the huge scope of variety on offer in the profession that makes an apprenticeship in care worthwhile.

Claire said: “The past 24 months has pushed everyone to fast track a wide range of developing skillsets, including crises response management. What a career in care affords is the chance for people to gain experience in a breadth of roles, from the on-the-ground, day-to-day care to the more strategic policies and planning that is implemented to strengthen our offering across the UK. What’s important is that everyone in their roles feels valued and part of a richer community that not only builds personal careers, but also enriches the lives of those we care and support so deeply.”

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