|Company:||Pure Life Homecare|
Director of Care and Registered Manager who also has completed the Level 5 Care Apprenticeship
Nicky has successfully achieved her Level 5 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care with IPS and employer Pure Life Home Care in Whitstable, where Nicky is also the Director of Care and Registered Manager. IPS talked to Nicky about how she has progressed from a career to a managerial role and the benefits of Apprenticeships from an Apprentice and Employer perspective…
“Pure Life Homecare is a community care company that aims to improve the lives of the service user by offering a huge range of support from personal and domestic care, medication support, nutrition etc. We currently have thirty-one exceptional carers and this is growing weekly.
I started as a carer with Pure Life Care and built up a great relationships with service users and my colleagues. I quickly realised how you can make such a positive impact on the lives of so many and that’s why I wanted to build my career here. So when an opportunity arose for me to become a Supervisor for the carer’s I jumped at it. I had my own ideas as to what I would change and improve and couldn’t wait to get started.
It was around this time that the then manager of Pure Life introduced higher learning in the form of NVQs and Apprenticeships. I was asked if I would be interested in applying for one and of course I said yes. I have always believed in continually improving and learning new skills so thought the NVQ qualification was a great way to cement this.
Unfortunately, the selected training provider were not suitable for us. We felt there was’nt enough support and the trainer wasn’t very approachable. Also, trainers left and we weren’t even told so it became increasingly difficult to track down the correct people regards our training. Due to these issues we didn’t proceed at that time. However, I remained undeterred so as soon as I was given the responsibility of staff-training I made bringing back the NVQ’s and Apprenticeships top of the agenda. And it was imperative we made this available to all carers.
After lots of research (and endless hours on google!) I stumbled across IPS. My first contact was with the Head of the Care department, Mary, who was incredibly helpful from the outset. We organised a meeting at our office and I discussed my ideas for training.
As Pure Life places great emphasis on the support and nurturing of our carers it was imperative that IPS realised we are all individuals and have different learning styles. Mary listened intently and understood exactly what we needed from our training provider. We were very quickly allocated a dedicated trainer, Lou, who we have worked with for over a year now. I have to say she has been nothing short of amazing. She has been so supportive of both myself and the carers, guiding us through each stage step by step and offering unparalleled levels of advice and direction.
Our aim is to encourage everyone who wants to complete the Level 3 Apprenticeship. All our carers have in-house training and experience so can go straight onto the Level 3. Matt, the owner at Pure Life, recommended that I start the Level 5 as soon as possible and so I didn’t waste anytime in applying especially as the opportunity to become the Registered Manager had also arisen around this time.
Despite the issues of Covid, Lou has really adapted the training so that there hasn’t been any delays in qualifications. We have changed from face-to-face visits to virtual online sessions and this has been very effective. Anyone who needed to have a break in learning due to pregnancy or personal reasons has been fully supported to do so and IPS have been really understanding. They spoke with them and assured them they can jump back on the course when ready.
Lou is a great trainer. She doesn’t put any pressure on us, carers actually enjoy their training as she is so easy to talk to. They’ve even said “It’s like having a chat with a friend and we don’t feel like we are just training.” Lou puts the carers at ease from the outset, engages with them and creates a real connection. I also have to say our carers adapted brilliantly to the Zoom sessions, despite many seeing themselves on camera for pro-longed periods…. which is daunting for anyone!
Lou has taken the time get to know Matt as well and understand all the carers learning styles and motivations and this has been pivotal to the training environment here. We recently had a carer complete their Level 3 Apprenticeship which was an amazing achievement for her. We had a virtual meeting with myself, Lou and Matt, alongside the carer and we were all really proud of her. It just shows how effective Lou and IPS are. We have a lot of different learning styles here as some carers are dyslexic, so Lou will adapt and make sure everyone is happy within their learning so they can achieve their outcome.
Here at Pure Life we really care about training and we have a quiet study area for our carers, so they have an environment conducive to learning. Due to COVID we moved offices before Christmas, to house a bigger space for a study area. I offer support sessions with the carers and they also have the option to discuss aspects of the course with each other. This is invaluable.
We are massively invested in the training for our staff. For example, we have experimented with different approaches for our induction training to see which is most effective. Our shadowing and course re-freshers are constantly evolving throughout the year and we actively encourage autonomy for the carers to decide which training they would like.
The carers have probation periods of 12 weeks and at the end of this we create a PDP (Personal Development Plan) where they decide what they want to achieve in the next year. If they pass probation the opportunity is given as early as possible to complete the Level 3.
We understand that the majority of our carers want qualifications and thus it’s imperative we provide the right framework to cultivate this. The Level 3 Apprenticeship is key to this ethos. It provides a broad in-depth knowledge of all areas and really reflects what we do on a day -to-day basis. It not only enhances Pure Life Care’s ability to offer excellent standards of care but it’s also a real springboard to discover which pathway excites the carers most – whether management, dementia support, medication, mentoring, etc. There are untold avenues for carers to explore.
For example, I recently discovered my future calling must be nurturing the next generation of Pure Life RM’s. I love managing and have learnt so much it would almost seem criminal not to pass this on whilst offering continual support. So my role will almost morph into a trainer / mentor. I’m really excited about the future. Not only that I would have then completed the pathway from carer, supervisor, RM, to mentor. IPS has made and will make this journey a much smoother process and I couldn’t have done it so quickly without them.
If you fit with the Pure Life Care ethos, are passionate about improving lives on a daily basis and are committed to learning and continuous improvement then there is absolutely room for progression within our company. That’s why we really encourage obtaining the Level 3 Apprenticeship as it’s the gateway to so much more. I feel because I have done this and worked my way up, my achievements can be a good motivation for the carers. With this in mind we always offer vacancies in-house first providing maximum opportunities for our team. As an example we are currently putting together job descriptions for team leaders and seniors, which are slightly different job roles as well as management pathways.
Apprenticeship training gives our carers the tools and skills to be better and to help us all progress within our industry by developing skills and knowledge on the job. We definitely see IPS as our training partner and they are pivotal to the continual growth and development of our biggest asset – our people.”