Care organisation offers helping hand for apprentices

A social care organisation that set up an apprenticeship scheme for disabled people is hoping to become a training academy, to expand the programme and take on more apprentices with support needs.

This comes after it won newcomer SME of the year at the recent National Apprenticeship Awards.

Buckinghamshire Care started the scheme almost two years ago, offering apprenticeships for people with a learning disability, mental health problem, or autism.


Opportunities for all

Its aim was to help young people who might otherwise struggle to access training and employment to learn skills and gain work experience. On completion of their apprenticeship, the students either stay on in roles at company or can go for jobs elsewhere.

Buckinghamshire Care was honoured last month at the prestigious National Apprenticeship Awards, winning in the newcomer SME of the year category, an attainment that has prompted the organisation to expand its programme.

Last year, it employed 20 service users, four of whom were on the apprenticeship scheme. Following the awards win, the organisation hopes to increase this number, and is even investing in becoming a training academy so it can offer more learning and employment opportunities.


Routes into social care

Andy Leach, operations manager at Buckinghamshire Care, told The Guardian: “We wanted to offer an opportunity that was a bit above the norm for a job, [somewhere] there was going to be support, there was going to be a future.

“We were looking to provide opportunities for people with support requirements but we were also looking to provide an inroad for young people into social care.”

One former service user started an assistant chef apprenticeship with the care organisation in August, and works in its supported café. Another completed an apprenticeship in the learning and development team, and now has a permanent job there.