Apprenticeship Case Study - Megan

Megan has nearly completed her apprenticeship and is set to continue to develop her care skills with Home Instead.

Apprenticeship Case Study - Megan

What sparked your initial interest in care?

My great granny was diagnosed with dementia when I was 10.  We were extremely close and spent lots of time together.  I knew from an early age that I wanted to work with people, both helping them practically and bringing them happiness.  This lived experience helping older relatives is probably something that many people have in common, and it means that working in care really isn’t a huge step even if you’ve not done it before.

What attracted you to Home Instead Tavistock and Tamar Valley?

My mum found Home Instead online and we read about it together.  The website had loads of information and the reviews were very good.  It looked a brilliant outfit.  I also noticed that they were advertising on Indeed and Facebook about an apprenticeship.  I didn’t know much about this but I liked the idea of a hands-on approach as I’ve always felt more comfortable learning this way.  I got in touch with Home Instead by email.  Clare, the Recruitment Manager, replied very quickly and gave me a call.  We had a lovely chat and arranged a meeting in the office in Tavistock.  The application process then went quickly and I was delighted to be accepted.

Do you feel confident and well-prepared to deliver care as a Care Professional?

Yes.  At first I joined the office team and learned about how care is managed.  They’re a great team – besties!  Understanding the administration processes helped to build my confidence and professional knowledge.   There’s a really positive culture with a constant emphasis on the clients, high quality care and good communication skills.  I was soon talking directly to clients but I always had backup if I needed help on a difficult issue.

Training to be a Care Professional is structured and progressive.  Some of it is done in a classroom style workshop and some is online.  Anne, our Training Manager, really brings scenarios to life and has a story for pretty much everything!  I found it genuinely enjoyable to learn.  I had plenty of opportunities to shadow on client visits to build my experience before doing any on my own.  Training continues all the time to refresh skills and develop new ones.

Do you feel supported by a responsive team and how is this important to you?

Absolutely yes, and it’s really important.  As a fully trained Care Professional, I now spend most of my time helping clients in their homes.  The office team provide 24/7 support for all of the Care Professionals.  It’s helped to have worked in the office myself, to know the people and how they solve problems.  It’s very reassuring to know that they’re there for me.  It’s convenient to pop in to see them in Kilworthy Park, Tavistock and I often do.  There are also regular get togethers for Care Professionals for top up training… and tea and cake.

Can you share a couple of highlights?

There are loads.  On a personal level, my confidence has grown massively over the last 15 months and the job has certainly helped.  I love knowing I’m making a difference, especially when clients tell me I’ve made their day!  There’s a feedback system called Praiseworthy where colleagues or clients can write you a short note and it’s presented on a lovely certificate.  It’s fantastic to receive these.

Colleagues and clients have become true friends.  There have been some really moving moments with clients when you realise you’ve become truly trusted and accepted by them and their family, always respecting professional boundaries of course.

And challenges that you’ve overcome?

Naturally there are some.  Initially I was apprehensive about facing the unknown – both people and situations.  However, the training and support quickly allowed me to overcome this.  I know some people might feel awkward about providing personal care, but personally this didn’t affect me.  Helping someone into the shower, applying cream to a place they can’t reach or helping them to dress is straightforward – we’re always respectful of the person and their dignity.

End of life care can be both challenging and rewarding.  There is special training for this.   Although it’s ultimately sad, the journey can be overwhelmingly positive and it’s so important.  I feel it’s a real privilege to be involved, although Care Professionals can opt not to do end of life care.

Would you recommend the Care Professional apprenticeship?

Yes, 100%!  Care is a career if you want it with progressive NVQs.  But even if you’re only involved for a couple of years, it’s really worthwhile experience and will look good on any CV.  I’ve learnt loads and enjoyed developing as a person.  Lots of employers talk about the importance of soft skills – communication, teamwork, empathy.  Care has this all the time and, yes, the pay is competitive too.  It’s hard to believe that I finish my 15-month apprenticeship this month.  I’ve now accepted a permanent contract and am here to stay 🙂