It always makes me feel proud knowing that I’m in a job that helps people every day. It’s important to me to tackle the stigma surrounding apprenticeships because the truth is that they are an amazingly useful way of educating yourself and progressing your career. I believe that all companies need to consider apprenticeships as either an entry level opportunity, or for their already existing colleagues who need a new and exciting developmental challenge.
This year, National Apprenticeship Week is from 3rd – 9th February. At Virgin Care, this week is very important to us, it’s all about firing up the conversation surrounding apprenticeships and how beneficial they are, not just for the individuals directly involved but for the companies and organisations that they work for. We know how much value our apprentices add to our organisation, and we want everyone to know about it.
I have worked with apprentices for 9 years, and I have been Head of Apprenticeships at Virgin Care since October. Before my Virgin journey started in March last year, I travelled the world gaining life experience, working at sea on cruise ships and then living in South Africa for 5 years. I learnt all about new cultures, and discovered my passion for training and development at the same time, consequently leading me to pursue it as a career.
Now, I want to raise awareness and start the discussion surrounding the importance of apprenticeships. Here at Virgin Care, we offer some incredible apprenticeship opportunities, from entry level up to senior level. Apprenticeships are an excellent way for individuals to either work their way up a career ladder that they’re already on, or to start climbing a brand new one. It allows people to gain knowledge and skills, to develop their confidence and build resilience.
Our wide variety of apprenticeships allow for interesting and diverse career opportunities. We collaborate with universities such as Derby to offer a level 5 Assistant Practitioner Foundation Degree, opening doors for our colleagues and helping to provide more nurses in our hospitals, with the satisfaction of our service users always at the front of our minds. A few other examples of current apprenticeship programmes we support include: Ops/Departmental Manager Level 5, HR Business Partner Level 5, Infrastructure Technician Level 3, Senior Health Care Support Worker and Led Adult Care Worker.
This week is pivotal for shouting about all of our incredible apprentices and all of their wonderful success stories. I am so proud to be able to work alongside such motivated individuals who want nothing more than to develop themselves and learn. As each individual progresses, I get to see their journey unfold as they reach each milestone. I am passionate about work force learning and helping people to be the best that they can and get as much satisfaction out of their careers as I do myself. We want to engage as many people as possible this week and inform them about the value of apprenticeships.
Follow the discussion on Facebook and Twitter this week by searching the hashtags #LookBeyond and #NAW2020.
Jacqui is at gateway point now and preparing for the End Point Assessment of her Level 3 Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship. She said, “From the first day my whole team have been supportive and encouraging. They want me to be the best I can be”.
Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”
For this year’s National Apprenticeship week Sarah talks us through the challenges that learners have faced this year, and the benefits of apprenticeships for both the learners and their organisations.
Lead Nurse Amanda Pulford gives us an insight to what it’s like working in a prison.