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Apprenticeship drive is launched

Desta Ross, apprentice, Iain Nixon, Sunderland College’s executive director of commercial activity, Samer Almansory, apprentice, and Philip Foster, Sunderland Care and Support’s chief operating officer

One of the biggest social care providers in the North East is teaming up with Sunderland College to recruit and train 54 apprentices.

Sunderland Care and Support has launched the apprenticeship scheme as it looks set to expand its services within the region.

The Sunderland-based company, which provides a wide range of community social care services for vulnerable people, will be working in partnership with Sunderland College to deliver the apprenticeship scheme, which blends ‘on the job’ training and a programme of study.

This is the biggest apprenticeship recruitment drive Sunderland Care and Support has launched, and is open to people of all ages with no previous experience or qualifications.

The company, which has 1,200 staff and is already supporting 13 apprentices, will offer apprenticeships across a range of services, including telecare, reablement at home, intermediate care, and community services for people with mental health needs and learning disabilities.

Samer Almansory, aged 28, who is a Sunderland Care and Support apprentice, said: “I am really enjoying the apprenticeship, and the amount of training and support I receive is excellent. This apprenticeship has fast-tracked me onto the route of quickly working towards the relevant qualifications and training necessary to gain full-time employment with any health and care organisation.

“Being a support worker or carer is one of the few jobs out there that is available to a wide group of people from all types of backgrounds and it really gives you the sense you’re making a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Philip Foster, Sunderland Care and Support’s chief operating officer, said: “We strongly believe in investing in our workforce and attracting people into social care. Working in partnership with Sunderland College, we see our apprentices as the skilled workers we need for the future who will help us to improve our business performance and meet our wider responsibility to the local community.”

The 54 apprentices will receive industry-standard training in a range of areas such as safeguarding and the safe handling of medicine, as well as literacy and numeracy training.

They will work with Sunderland Care and Support staff to gain experience in a real social care environment, and on successful completion of their apprenticeship will qualify with a Diploma in Health and Social Care.

Iain Nixon, executive director for commercial activity at Sunderland College said: “We are very excited to work with Sunderland Care and Support on their apprenticeship scheme, which will have joint benefits for the company and its apprentices.

“Apprenticeships offer learners the best of both worlds as it gives them the unique opportunity to earn a wage while gaining vital work experience and training as well as formal qualifications; and statistics show employers also benefit through increased productivity, staff morale and increased staff retention.

“As part of Sunderland Care and Support’s apprenticeship scheme, our team of health and social care experts will be delivering high-quality training and on-going support to ensure the apprentices have the knowledge and skills they need for a career in this sector.”

People can apply for one of the positions by contacting the Sunderland College Apprenticeship team: email apprenticeships@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk or phone 0191 5116484. Sunderland Care and Support is committed to equality and valuing diversity within its workforce, and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

CASE STUDY: Samer Almansory’s story

Samer Almansory has always had a keen interest in helping people. Over the years he fundraised for various charities and regularly volunteered for local organisations which support children with physical and mental disabilities.

Samer, from Sunderland, had a good job in sales and marketing but his desire to help people on a full-time basis grew so strong that he quit his 9am-5pm profession, and embarked on a career in health and social care.

Inspired by his mum, who has worked as a residential officer for more than ten years, he researched the various options open to him and decided support work was the right career for him.

The 28-year-old is now an apprentice at Sunderland Care and Support, where he helps to care for people with severe learning difficulties.

He said: “Being a support worker or carer is one of the few jobs out there that is available to a wide group of people from all types of backgrounds and it really gives you the sense you’re making a positive difference to people’s lives. To know you’re directly making a difference and helping people lead a good quality of life is immensely rewarding. This role is perfect for anybody who is kind and considerate or empathetic and caring, and has a passion for helping people.”

Samer’s apprenticeship consists of ‘on the job’ training and additional skills and knowledge training from Sunderland College.

“The apprenticeship is going great and I am really enjoying it,” added Samer, “Everybody is so lovely and so helpful, and the amount of training and support I receive is excellent. One day a week I work towards a Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care and at least once a month I am put forward for different training courses.”

Samer has never looked back since starting his apprenticeship in November and he is keen to share the benefits of this course with others.

He said: “The way the apprenticeship works is brilliant. Along with the college training we get ‘on the job’ training so you can learn to implement the theory we learn, as we learn. Each apprentice is assigned an experienced support worker as a mentor to shadow which is an additional level of help, support and security.

“This apprenticeship has fast-tracked me onto the route of quickly working towards the relevant qualifications and training necessary to gain full-time employment with any health and care organisation.”



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