Every day is different for social care apprentice Emily

Emily Rothwell photo

Rugby-loving Emily Rothwell has been taking the next steps in tackling a career in adult social care after securing an apprenticeship with the help of Oxfordshire County Council.

Emily, who is 17 and from Faringdon, had always been interested in a career in social care but didn’t know where to start until she attended her school’s careers fair last year. Now she’s urging others who may be thinking about a career in social care to take the plunge.

She said: “I always knew that I wanted to work in social care because I enjoy talking to elderly people and want to make them feel safe and well looked after.

“I went along to my school’s career’s fair and was able to speak to Evie Bennett who works in adult social care at Oxfordshire County Council. She gave me some information on working in social care and her email address so that I could keep in touch, and with her help, I was able to apply for some apprenticeships.

While she had gained some experience previously at a day centre, and residential home in Witney, Emily was worried that the subjects she had chosen at school may limit her ability to get into social care. But her passion and work experience was all that was needed for her to start her journey.

“The subjects I took at school didn’t have an impact on getting where I am today. The most useful thing to me was my work experience, which was at a care centre for elderly and vulnerable adults. I also worked with disabled adults in their home environment,” Emily added.

Emily was supported in finding an apprenticeship with a local care provider by the adult social care workforce team. Evie helped with finding a care provider local to Emily, writing her application and setting up some informal chats with the care home manager before Emily’s interview.

After a successful interview, Emily was offered an apprenticeship at Ferendune Court in Faringdon, which is a residential home that provides support for older people who have residential and dementia care needs.

Every day is very different for Emily and she already holds several roles and responsibilities across the home including, personal care for elderly and dementia residents, preparing food and fluids, organising daily activities for residents, monitoring safety of residents and completing paperwork.

As well as this, her apprenticeship allows her a day in college every week to continue and complete her studies.

Emily continued: “I would like to gain as much experience as possible in various sectors of health and social care. Ideally, I would like to stay on at Ferendune Court at the end of my current apprenticeship. My aim is to eventually work with women and children who have been abused.”

Since starting her apprenticeship Emily has flourished and found the work to be very rewarding, continuing to work throughout the lockdown.

She said: “My favourite thing about working at the care home is the people I look after. Every day is different – in a good way – and I’m learning a lot about their different characters.

“I like to think that I am making a difference to people’s lives by looking after them and caring for them. We are going through a very difficult time right now, which means the adults I work with can’t see their families. I like the fact that I can make them smile and help them feel safe.”

Now Emily is in her apprenticeship, Evie is on hand to help and advise Emily when she needs it, and to support her in finding her next steps in adult social care.

Reflecting on her experiences so far, Emily said: “To anybody who is contemplating an apprenticeship in adult social care, I would say definitely do it. It’s hard work, but it is also very rewarding, and worth every minute!”

Stephen Chandler, Director of Adult Social Care at Oxfordshire County Council said: “We are so proud of Emily and what she has already achieved in her short time in social care. She is so enthusiastic and passionate about her job, and I wish her all the best in her future studies.”

Since 2006, Oxfordshire County Council has recruited more than 300 apprentices across its services. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for the council to develop its workforce and provide employment and training opportunities for individuals in the wider community. All apprentices are paid a salary and given the opportunity to complete nationally recognised qualifications.

For further information on apprenticeships available visit Oxfordshire County Council’s website.