Community Care Worker - Hannah Langridge, 24
10 years ago

After completing an Apprenticeship in health and social care, Hannah became a Community Care Worker with Hertfordshire County Counci

lFirst steps on a care career

In 2005, aged 17, Hannah was already studying a care-related course at North Hertfordshire College when her tutor suggested she went to the council’s apprenticeship programme open day.

Before starting at college, Hannah had already made the decision to enter the care sector. For her, it had been a choice between teaching, nursing and care. Having done some work experience in a school, and deciding that nursing wouldn’t be quite right for her, Hannah made the choice to pursue a care-related career, and had originally felt that college would be the right path.

However, the open day gave her an insight into a different way of getting on in her chosen field. She particularly liked the change of emphasis from a purely study environment to a more vocational programme, and decided to apply.

Having successfully navigated the selection process, Hannah met the other apprentices who would be on the programme with her, enjoying getting to know them all during the initial two-week induction. For her first six months, Hannah was placed at the Stevenage Resource Centre, a day service for adults with a variety of needs.

To help ease her in, Hannah had a mentor in the service, as well as access to Paul Rainbow, the learning and development officer in charge of apprenticeships at the council. Working four days a week at the centre and one day at college to study for a BTEC and NVQ level 2 in Health and Social Care gave Hannah the chance to meet up with the rest of the apprentice group once a week during the study day, to compare notes and stories. The college assessor also came regularly into Hannah’s workplace to assess her progress.

This amount of support, from a variety of sources, really helped Hannah to progress as well as she did. For her second placement, Hannah worked in a residential home, experiencing shift work for the first time. For her final six-month placement, Hannah chose another day service, since she felt a real affinity for this kind of environment.

Next steps after the apprenticeship

Once her 18-month programme was complete, Hannah continued to work at the resource centre as an agency worker, waiting for a permanent position to open up. In October 2007, this chance arose; she successfully completed the interview process and was offered the job of day service support worker.

More recently, Hannah has been enjoying helping the newer apprentices, offering them help and support and guidance on their coursework. Hannah’s long-term goal is to be a social worker, and she is taking her first step towards this dream through her new role as a community care worker within the council in October 2010.

Hannah said: “It’s such a great programme, a real door-opener. Its set me up for following my career goal, and I would never have got there otherwise."

Benefits of practical work experience

Hannah has really benefited from the mixture of study and practical work experience. She found it really useful to be able to put the theory she was learning into the context of the service users she was dealing with every day.

She has built up a vast amount of practical experience that she will take forward into her new role. But most importantly, if she hadn’t completed her apprenticeship, Hannah believes she would have found it impossible to even think of becoming a social worker, which now seems to be a very real possibility in the future.

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