‘I can’t imagine doing anything else,’ say apprentice Stevenage care workers

Service users Vicky Selley, Paul Hilliard, trainee Terri Bennet, Stevenage Resource Centre assistant

Service users Vicky Selley, Paul Hilliard, trainee Terri Bennet, Stevenage Resource Centre assistant manager Jilly Taylor, trainee Rebecca Taylor and service user Laura Dunn. - Credit: Archant

Rebecca Taylor struggled to hold down a job after she dropped out of studying for her A-levels.

Rebecca and Terri helping Laura Dunn.

Rebecca and Terri helping Laura Dunn. - Credit: Archant

The 21-year-old drifted in and out of retail jobs in Stevenage for years until she discovered a training course in adult care run by Herts County Council.

She said: “I heard about the programme and thought I’d give it a go, thinking it would be for a few months and then I’d give up.

“But it’s been a year now and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love it because every day is different.

“Also, some of the stories you hear make you really appreciate what you have got.”

Rebecca helping Laura put on a coat.

Rebecca helping Laura put on a coat. - Credit: Archant

Rebecca joined the council’s health and social care trainee programme last year with nine others including Terri Bennet – who has also thrived in the programme.

The year-long course is designed to give people aged between 16 and 24 the chance to gain valuable work experience and qualifications in the care sector.

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During the year trainees are paid £110 a week and work towards a nationally recognised level 1 QCF qualification – which has replaced NVQs – in adult social care and health and social care.

Terri, 19, said: “I feel that by doing this job I’m really making a difference and doing something good.

“I wasn’t working before I started on this programme and it has taught me to adapt more quickly and to communicate better.”

Both will finish their placements at the Stevenage Resource Centre tomorrow and will start a Level 2 QCF apprenticeship in health and social care soon.

The programme is part of a wider project the council has to recruit the 2,000 care workers it needs every year. It is also focusing on attracting younger people into the industry as currently only 10 per cent of its carers are under 24.

In June, it launched the Good Care Hertfordshire website where people can register their CVs.

So far 100 people have signed up and the council is keen for anyone interested to get in touch.

Planning and development officer Craig Watkins helps run the scheme. He said: “The growth in the individuals is the true measure of the project.

“They gain confidence, I have even noticed a difference in their appearance and the way they hold themselves.

“They also make friends and gain experience and the course gives them a great kick start in their careers.”

For more and to register your CV visit www.hertsgoodcare.com or email hsctrainees@hertfordshire.gov.uk with any questions.

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