Name: Catherine Thomasson
Company: Avante Care and Support

My name is Catherine Thomasson and I’ve worked in Learning & Development since graduating in 2012 and I am currently the L & D Manager for Avante Care and Support, a not for profit organisation that provides high quality personalised care and support to clients living at home and in residential settings across Kent and the South East.

The apprenticeship qualification is useful to us as it combines practical training with a professional qualification in Health & Social Care and supports learners’ personal development with the Maths and English certificates. Learners benefit from having the external resources of an independent trainer to tap into for assistance and we have found that apprenticeships can change learner’s perception of education and encourage the idea of ‘lifelong’ learning as many continue to study once they have achieved their apprenticeship.

Avante were looking to support team leaders and improve the safe handling of the increasingly complex medicines prescribed today and IPS were recommended. All those involved in medication now achieve the NCFE level 2 qualification and we work exclusively with IPS to support our learners through the programme.

Following the successful medication programme that still continues today, we began using IPS to deliver all of Health & Social Care qualifications and have developed a strong relationship. I meet with the team regularly to keep in touch with learner’s progress, changes to qualification provision and funding. IPS provide monthly updates and crucially hold regular sessions supporting learners on the various programmes of study. It is this commitment to our staff that has contributed to IPS being the principle provider for Avante.

There are two ‘things’ that stand out for me: Firstly, in other situations, I have had to mediate for learners over lost work, certificates, missed assessments and poor communication, this has never happened with IPS nor have I ever received a complaint from learners about their study. Secondly and more importantly, there are numerous individuals who have doubted their ability to achieve qualifications, particularly the functional skills, yet everyone has, with support from the trainers, gone on to achieve both numeracy and literacy certificates. Part of this process includes the delivery of presentations, something that few relish however, these have been an outstanding success and have improved the confidence and self-esteem of the staff. This provides a good example of how achieving a qualification can be about so much more than a paper certificate.

If you would like to find out more about IPS’s apprenticeships in Health and Social Care, please call 01304 228180