Find your ‘Career in Care’ with innovative partnership

Individuals across Oxfordshire have been benefitting from an innovative partnership that aims to bring individuals closer to voluntary and paid employment through bespoke work experience. Vicky Gellatly, is one of these to have benefitted from this project.

Her placement is part of the wider 18-month Careers in Care project delivered by Oxfordshire County Council’s Oxfordshire Employment and Style Acre. It aims to support both people with a learning disability and those with wider health and disability needs to develop skills, and to find work within the Oxfordshire social care sector

Vicky, who is in her early thirties and from Wantage first joined the programme in July 2019 after expressing an interest in learning how to support others with learning disabilities.

Bubbly Vicky wanted to learn the right way to support someone with a variety of complex special needs and help in their development.

After many false starts looking for work and developing skills, she wanted something that would allow her to overcome her own mild disabilities and a flexible role in which she could learn at her own pace and gain confidence In the past she has experience of care but no formal qualifications, just a willingness to learn and adapt.

The programme brings together Oxfordshire Employment’s expertise in job coaching and supporting successful employment outcomes together with Style Acre’s ability to deliver bespoke work experience, learning and development within its own social care services and social enterprises.

In her time at placement, Vicky has learnt how to support others, she has almost completed her Level 1 Support Worker online training; and has completed a Level 2 in food safety.

She is now looking into government funded courses in health and social care to assist her with a qualification alongside her support role and is hopeful that her current placement will lead to paid work.

Sarah, project co-ordinator at Style Acre said:

“Vicky has an excellent rapport with the service users and is greatly missed by everyone when she takes some holiday time off she has learnt a great deal on programme and is always keen to learn more.”

The Careers in Care programme has been extended to 31 March 2021 to deliver more support opportunities.

Chris Ingram, Chief Executive at Style Acre said:

“Wellbeing seems to be a trendy word at the moment, but it has been a fundamental part of what we have focused on at Style Acre for a number of years. There is a lot of evidence to show how important a job can be for people’s wellbeing, which is why our work programme has become such an important focus for Style Acre.

“People with learning and other disabilities are hugely disadvantaged in the employment market and very few work within social care which is why this project done in collaboration with Oxfordshire Employment has been so important to us.

“The fact that we have been able to link it with our other enterprises like the garden project at Wantage has been a real benefit to everyone. The project has been a huge success and I would like to thank everyone at Style Acre, Oxfordshire Employment and our partners who have been part of the journey so far.”

Will Gardner, team manager at Oxfordshire Employment said:

“I’m delighted that the in-depth support provided has helped Vicky find a role that adds value for her and brings her superb skills into the sector. This is about bringing people closer to work, whether volunteering or through employment, but I’m confident that Vicky can join others we have supported through Careers in Care and gain paid employment”

“I am also delighted that we’ve been able to extend this project by another six months so that we can deliver even more opportunities to people across the county.”

More information

Find out more about the work of Oxfordshire Employment here.

Find out more about Style Acre and the work that they do across Oxfordshire here.