During a year filled with extraordinary challenges, our apprentices have continued to go above and beyond to provide support to people with learning disabilities, all while working towards their qualifications.
With apprentices accounting for around 20% of Hft’s workforce, we were delighted to be ranked within the top 15 apprenticeship employers in the country last year, and as the highest ranked charity and social care provider!
This National Apprenticeship Week, we want to shine a light on just a few of those apprentices, as they continue to progress in their Hft journeys…
Beth Livingstone, Senior Support Worker, Hft Leeds
I’m 25 years old and started working at Hft three years ago, after graduating from university and having never worked in social care before. I went to a job fair and a manager talked to me about the organisation, and it made me excited about becoming a support worker.
I wanted to expand my knowledge while working, so an apprenticeship seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn on the job and develop my education. Doing an apprenticeship has given me the practical knowledge of learning on the job and being able to see how people want to be supported. I’ve also learnt so much from other people, including staff members, families and medical professionals. You can only learn so much from sitting in a classroom – being able to do both allows you to learn every little bit about the job.
I love being a support worker. The best thing is definitely the people we support and learning about each and every one of them and how they want to be supported. My proudest achievement is the development I have made and being promoted to acting senior support worker around 18 months ago – I am now completing my Level 3 apprenticeship!
Due to the pandemic the way we support people has changed a lot. I work primarily with four women and we have been doing activities in the home to make sure that they are all able to stay engaged and happy throughout this challenging time.
Samson Bello-Ayeni, Registered Cluster Manager, Hft London
I’m from Nigeria and was inspired to start a career in social care as I have always been passionate about offering support to anyone who might need it. I joined Hft after seeing some people with learning disabilities being supported at a shopping centre. I saw so much compassion, care and respect in how they were being cared for and it brought tears to my eyes. I approached the group and found out they were support workers – since then I have been proud to work in the social care sector.
After beginning my social care career in 2011 as a support worker, I started my Level 5 apprenticeship in 2019. I wanted to secure the best qualifications possible and was aware that starting an apprenticeship would stand me in good stead to confidently, diligently and efficiently address all forms of challenges I may be confronted with in my role as a manager. My apprenticeship has also allowed me to impart my knowledge to my staff team, putting us all in a better position to deliver great support.
I have experienced many proud moments while working at Hft, including my team being runners up in our annual staff awards and receiving a distinction in my Level 3 apprenticeship. I’m also proud to have developed from a support worker to a manager role.
The pandemic has changed my work drastically – ensuring the safety of my staff team and people we support is now my top priority. As well as organising PPE, infection control processes and testing, it’s been really important to look out for everyone’s wellbeing on a daily basis. This has involved being there for people during some really difficult experiences and returning to work on the frontline when necessary. I’ve also joined forces with my staff team to work creatively to offer alternative activities including dance parties, painting and baking.
Angela Burrows, Senior Support Worker, Hft Gloucestershire
I’m 58 and joined Hft in 2018 after working in the banking and IT industry for over thirty years. I started working in social care because I wanted to help people and I haven’t looked back since!
After starting as a support worker and completing my Level 2 apprenticeship, I was promoted to senior support worker and am now doing my Level 3 qualification. Apprenticeships cement what you’re doing by putting your experience down on paper, interlocking the practical and written elements. It’s given me confidence to perform my role and has allowed me to reflect back on what I’ve learnt and share this with other members of the team.
The best things about being a support worker are knowing that I’ve made a difference to people’s quality of life, and consulting with staff about the best ways of supporting people. A highlight from my time at Hft was performing an abdominal thrust of someone I was supporting when he choked on some food – my first aid training kicked in and I was able to prevent him from coming to any harm.
The support worker role has changed during the pandemic in the sense that we need to think outside the box more, and trust other people’s ideas. One member of staff suggested painting the fence at my service and I was initially worried it would never get finished. In the end it was a huge success and allowed us all to spend time together outside in the sunshine. Wearing PPE is difficult and the pandemic is wearing – however, we always make sure to come to work with a smile on our faces for the people we support.