“I now wake up and don’t dread the thought of work, and I go home feeling fulfilled and knowing that I have helped others and enriched their days.”

A 22-year-old mother of two from Tredegar has credited her apprenticeship for forging a rewarding career that makes a real difference to both her, and those she supports.

Katie Hall, a Health and Social Care Apprentice at Augusta House, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, is now encouraging more people to explore the wide range of roles in social care available, whatever your circumstances.

After having children and no longer wanting to pursue a career as a PE teacher, Katie was unsure of her next steps until she came across an apprenticeship in social care.

She is now passionate about breaking preconceptions of careers in the industry and is helping to spread awareness of the benefits of using an apprenticeship to change careers later in life. The Welsh Government is funding the Apprenticeship Programme with help from the European Social Fund.

 

She said: “When I first decided to explore a career in social care, I thought the work would be focussed around nursing homes, caring for the elderly, and people being unwell.

“I couldn’t have been more wrong, having the opportunity to work with disabled people from different backgrounds and ages has been incredibly rewarding and I’m able to make a huge impact on the day-to-lives of so many different people.

“My apprenticeship helped make my career change feel much less daunting, as I was able to earn a wage while learning the skills needed for the role. From day one I was gaining on-the-job experience, while also having the support of those who had been in the industry for 15 to 20 years!”

 

In between having children, Katie tried a number of jobs in different industries but struggled to find her passion.

 

She added: “I loved sport but after having children my life became much busier and I fell out of love with it.

“I began working in domiciliary care before having my second child, and while my mothering side meant that I loved caring and looking after people, it didn’t feel like the right role for me. This was when I applied for the apprenticeship at Augusta house.”

 

While initially apprehensive that she didn’t have the necessary skills for the role, Katie was successful in applying for the apprenticeship and has never looked back.

She is now employed by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council Social Services department, arranged and supported through the Aspire internal programme who have helped facilitate an apprenticeship pathway for 5 apprentices within a sector that has a shortage of applicants.

 

She said: “I instantly fitted into the team and the support around me from my colleagues made the transition so easy, I felt like I belonged straight away.

“After just my first week in the role, I found that being able to make each of my client’s days better had such a huge impact on me, my mood, and how I felt; it brought me so much happiness.

“I now wake up and don’t dread the thought of work, and I go home feeling fulfilled and knowing that I have helped others and enriched their days.”

 

Being new to the role and having no previous experience of working with disabled people, Katie found being able to learn the skills on the job a huge benefit.

 

She continued: “I had a lot of self-doubt when I started my apprenticeship, wondering if I had the right skills or if was I going to enjoy it.

“Administering medication to people having seizures and caring for people with complex disabilities can be intimidating, but having experts in the industry around me has meant I’ve felt supported every step of the way.

“When it came to my written college work I was able to use first-hand experiences from my apprenticeship and soon realised just how much I had learned from working alongside my peers. The experience has been invaluable.”

 

Katie is grateful for the support and encouragement of her family and colleagues who helped her build a successful and rewarding career for herself alongside being a mum and bringing up her two young children during her apprenticeship.

 

She said: “I can’t thank my family, friends, and colleagues enough. Their support has been key to making this apprenticeship work for me, I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I’m excited to be at Augusta House and I encourage anyone to come into this industry to experience the joy it can bring. I have had the best year on this apprenticeship and cannot wait to start my permanent position when I finish in June!”

 

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Skills and qualifications are the biggest single influence on a person’s chance of being in employment, and on them earning a good income and offering a route out of poverty and protection against it.  Apprenticeships can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce – offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills. They are also crucial to our ambitious vision for a Wales where no one is held back.

“Apprenticeships are a genius decision, for both employers seeking to future-proof their workforces and nurture the talent that exists within Wales, and Katie is a great example of how apprenticeships can help you progress your career and develop your skills at any time of your life.”

 

If you, like Katie, want to see what’s out there in the world of apprenticeships, there is a wide range of options open to you.

Apprenticeship Week Wales is a great way to discover some of those that are on offer, so you can not only find a career you love but go on to build your skills in it.

For more information about becoming an apprentice, visit www.gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision or call 0800 028 4844.

 

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4406 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.