16 December 2021

Apprentice commended at The Great British Care Awards regional finals

Apprentice commended at The Great British Care Awards regional finals

East Sussex College apprentice, Paula Wright, reached the regional finals of The Great British Care Awards 2021 and was commended for The Care Newcomer Award for her efforts.

Paula is currently studying as an apprentice at the College doing a Lead Adult Care Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship, but her day-to-day job is as a Health Care Assistant at Radfield Home Care. She works in domiciliary care and predominantly looks after people in their own homes.

Apprenticeships with East Sussex College are fulfilled by Sussex Skills Solutions, the College’s in-house apprenticeship and skills training provider, who are dedicated to matching students to the right employer/industry.

Paula attended the awards event in Brighton on 6 November after being nominated for The Care Newcomer Award. Whilst she narrowly missed out on the award, Paula was regarded as ‘Highly Commended’ and the College is extremely proud of her achievements.

The Great British Care Awards website was full of praise for Paula, and read, “Paula came across very personable, genuine and caring. She has made a huge career move and change when joining care, and she is excited for the future and her progression in the social care industry.”

Speaking proudly about reaching the regional finals this month, Paula said, “I’m impressed (about being named highly commended for the award). It was for the whole of the South East which is a lot of people really. The awards evening was really good fun, we really enjoyed it.

“We were submitted onto the course about six months ago, I had an email to tell me I’d made it through to the final. And then I had to do an interview for it, and then we attended the awards ceremony which was really good. It was a nice experience, and there was an amazing atmosphere there.”

Paula has juggled studying and working since starting her apprenticeship journey, and she emphasised the immense benefits of further developing her understanding of the industry. She said, “I’m doing my Lead Adult Care Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship. The course has helped me as it runs alongside my work that I’m doing at the moment. It helps me get a better perspective of my clients and have a better understanding with them. It’s a useful course to be doing. It helps with your personal centered approach to everything. I enjoy it.”

Whilst working in the care industry can undoubtedly be stressful, Paula described the role as rewarding. “You don’t always know what you’re walking into, so you have to manage the situation and keep everyone calm. You just have to be very relaxed and calm about the situation, but it’s a good job. A very rewarding job and you get to meet lots of fun and interesting people.”

Paula’s assessor, Vanessa Mann, was also full of praise for the apprentice’s achievements, and outlined her positivity and hard-working mindset. She said, “I’ve said to Paula in the past that if all my apprentices were like Paula, it’d make my life very easy because she submits her work on time, usually ahead of time! She really keeps up with her progress.

“Unfortunately because of Covid and different situations, I haven’t been able to go out and observe her, but all the feedback I get from her employer about her practice and obviously with her achievements with the award as well, it’s always very positive. She’s very receptive to learning new things and it’s really nice to hear Paula reflect and describe how things have come in handy with her work.”

Vanessa added, “It’s rare to find an apprentice like Paula actually, who’s just so enthusiastic. I think people have to be enthusiastic and realise the reality of it as well; they do need time to complete work, but also be open minded and prepared to learn new things. It’s always about ‘how can I learn next’ and ‘how can I improve’.”

Vanessa described the care industry as ever-changing, and suggested that adaptation and continuous learning are key to working in the industry. “Care work is skilled work, it’s not just about learning the job and doing it. It’s about continuously learning as the industry changes all the time. We’ve seen people who come through as a new carer, progress all the way to becoming a manager and doing their level 5 with us.

“Apprentices in the care field need to be really positive and proud of what they do. They may feel undervalued, but actually they’re providing the backbone of who we are as a society. That caring attitude. I look at people like Paula and I think, when I’m old I hope she’s still working in care because maybe she’ll end up being my carer!”

To find out more about our apprenticeship courses, please click here.