Health & Social Care Assistant - Danielle Parker, 17
10 years ago

Danielle Parker undertook an Apprenticeship in health and social care, now aged 17 she works as a Health and Social Care Assistant at The Manor House.

Choosing an apprenticeship

While Danielle was in her final year at high school, she was sure that she wanted to work with older people, having been inspired by the care that her grandmother was giving to her 95-year old great-grandfather and the work her sister was doing on a dementia unit.

She was equally sure that she didn’t want to go on to further education, since the prospect of two further years of study with limited practical application of her learning did not appeal. But it was only when the school social worker told her about apprenticeships did she realise what her next step was actually going to be.

Not having heard of apprenticeships until this point, Danielle realised that the combination of on-the-job learning and study would be perfect for her. On top of this, Danielle was pleased to learn that she would also earn £95 per week as an apprentice. She could see that an apprenticeship would greatly enhance her prospects for future employment, and set out to find a suitable placement.

Having achieved good grades in her GCSEs, including Science and the all-important Maths and English, Danielle visited her local JobCentre Plus to see what specific apprenticeships were available. There she came across two opportunities in social care; one for a local nursery and one at Manor House, a residential and nursing home for older people.

After attending both interviews, Danielle was even more certain about the path she wanted to take, and was delighted to be offered a placement at Manor House.

Work and study

Danielle was understandably nervous as she started her apprenticeship, but Karen Taylor, training manager at Manor House took Danielle under her wing and ensured that support was always available.

Danielle worked closely with a senior member of staff at all times, firstly observing and then undertaking the work under supervision. From the very first day, Danielle was given real work to do and she quickly adapted to her new role, learning new skills including the management of residents’ personal care, showering and bathing, feeding and carrying out activities with residents.

One of Danielle’s key challenges was learning how to speak to residents. With little experience of older people, she felt shy and unsure initially, but soon learned from her mentors, and from the residents themselves!

Working four days a week at the home, Danielle attended college on Tuesdays to study for her NVQ level 2 in Health and Social Care. The new experiences she had encountered at Manor House were invaluable, bringing practical knowledge to the theory she was learning on the course.


As with any new job, Danielle initially found the scale of things to learn quite daunting. She hadn’t realised quite how wide-ranging the job could be until she started. But the support she received soon helped her to settle in and gain confidence.

Unsurprisingly, dealing with the death of residents was one of Danielle’s biggest challenges, especially working with bereaved families. But she is grateful for the help she had from senior members of staff in this area, and now finds the support she is able to give to families very rewarding.


Danielle completed her five study assessments comfortably, and attained her NVQ level 2 in July 2009. Towards the end of her apprenticeship year, Danielle also underwent a workplace competence assessment. When this was fully signed off, her apprenticeship programme was complete and she could now be considered for a permanent position.

Danielle said: “If I had just done my NVQ at college, I wouldn’t have been able to do the work as well as I do it now – it was so much better for me to learn on the job.”

The future

Just under one year after starting her apprenticeship, Danielle was delighted to be offered a permanent full-time position at Manor House, and is rightly proud of her new title of ‘health and social care assistant’.

Danielle is certain she made the right decision in becoming an apprentice. Her year within the programme cemented the idea of working in the care sector, especially with the older people. She’s now preparing for further study and is determined to continue and progress in this field.

She’s proud of her achievements, and that she has such a satisfying job. Furthermore, Danielle is now helping and supporting the new Manor House apprentices as they start their own programmes.

For more information about social care apprenticeships and to access further resources, please visit: Apprenticeships (

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