A Shropshire company is helping young carers get a first foot on the ladder of their career by taking part in an in-depth apprenticeship programme.
Sentinel Care Services, based in Telford, has a policy of promoting from within and managers believe if people coming into the care industry get the right training and are looked after properly the benefits for their clients are invaluable.
More people are turning to care as a profession and Sentinel is keen to ensure that both the individual and the company make the most of the talents newcomers bring to the role.
One of the firm’s new apprentices is Francesca Broom, from Lawley, in Telford. The 19-year-old worked as a waitress for nearly two years before deciding she wanted to do something more rewarding.
“I had been considering going into care for a time, I wanted something where I could progress and have a proper career,” she said.
“I opted for Sentinel because they do an apprenticeship scheme – not many other companies do that.
“I am thinking long-term prospects and this apprenticeship scheme gives me the opportunity to get my qualifications.
“The job is fun, I always go home at the end of the day feeling good about what I have done and that I have been able to help people along the way.”
Another Sentinel apprentice is Shannon Lapacinskas, 17, from Shrewsbury, who says she was keen for a career in care after helping her mother look after her nan who had terminal cancer.
“That gave me an insight into what care was all about,” she said. “I love talking and helping people and the apprenticeship scheme at Sentinel will give me the right grounding and support to succeed in the industry and let me get fully qualified along the way.”
Steve Harris, managing director at Sentinel Care Services, said the Footsteps programme was proving hugely successful with new starters.
He said: “People who come to us with no experience in the care industry have the opportunity to take advantage of the Footsteps scheme where we take on apprentices and pay them a full wage, the same as every other carer, not an apprentice wage.
“We encourage all of our staff to go for the NVQ Level 2 in care and once they have completed that they can do Level 3 if they like. And if people want further training or attend any courses and it’s suitable to their role then they can request it.
“The Footsteps programme for new starters consists of weekly calls to see how they are getting on and to keep in regular contact with new staff to ensure they are comfortable in the role and happy with the job.
“It’s a fantastic scheme which we hope will help lots of carers establish themselves for a career for life.”
For more information, visit www.sentinelcareservices.co.uk