As part of National Apprenticeship Week we talked to two East Sussex County Council staff members currently undertaking apprenticeships and the benefits of learning while earning.

Matt’s story

Matt is a residential childcare worker for Children’s Service and is doing an apprenticeship as part of his Diploma in Residential Child Care.

At 52, Matt decided to make a career change and by being able to study while working he was able to move to a role as a residential child care worker without any previous experience.

”I have learnt a great deal on-the-job at work from brilliant colleagues, but I couldn’t have made the switch without access to the Diploma and Apprenticeship. It’s been interesting having to study and write essays again after so many years, but I’ve enjoyed rediscovering the knack and have learnt a lot in the process. It’s a great way to learn something new and get paid at the same time.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have an excellent tutor who is experienced, personable and very on top of things. I’ve had fortnightly video calls with them throughout the course and they are always available if needed and has always been an encouraging presence. At work, my managers have been brilliant – there has never been a quibble about study days and when their input is required for observations or evidence, they are always accessible and amenable. And my family have also been very supportive and allowed me to disappear into the spare room to be a student again whenever I’ve needed to.

“We are given days to study each month, however, as someone new to the subject, I have been extra thorough with my research and essay-writing, so inevitably, I have used a lot of my spare time too. Having done it through Covid has added an extra dimension and as rewarding as the apprenticeship has been I am now looking forward to completing the course and continuing to develop in my role.”

Kerry’s story

Kerry is a Practice Manager in Adult Social Care.

“Soon after starting in my role as a practise manager I was given the opportunity to do an operations and departmental manager apprenticeship and I felt it would help me develop in so many aspects of the job. I have really enjoyed the learning process and my depth of knowledge has improved while I am on the job working at the same time.

“I have to be very strict with myself about booking in study time. I work in a very busy Neighbourhood Support Team and it is really easy for days and weeks to disappear so I make sure I schedule in my study days. As the apprenticeship is in relation to my job there is lots of the work that I am doing day to day that can be counted towards the course.

“I feel very supported doing my apprenticeship. I have a coach and a mentor who I meet with monthly.  These sessions are so valuable in helping bring me back to thinking about what I am learning and how I can apply it in my work. There are masterclasses every couple of months which is where I learn the majority of the theory and I get to talk to my peers on the course. We also have regular review meetings where we review our progress and make sure we are on track.

“I thoroughly recommend doing an apprenticeship. It is difficult at times to balance everything but the learning is so invaluable and it has really helped me to develop as a manager, and as a person. “Lots of the things I have learnt can easily be applied to life in general and it has definitely made me even more motivated in a job I already enjoyed.”

East Sussex County Council are supporting a new initiative Heathercroft Training who are running a Princes Trust programme offering anyone aged between 18 – 29 a training, a qualifications and a placement within the Care Sector. The council will be supporting these placements and there is the potential to go on to an apprenticeship in care with East Sussex County Council following the placement. To find out more visit the Heathercroft Training website.

East Sussex County Council apprenticeships and job opportunities can be found on our website.