Ryan Moreland, talks about how the social care Apprenticeship is opening up opportunities this National Apprenticeship Week.
I’m 30 years old and a full-time care manager 1 in the North social care team based at Alnwick Fire Station. I’ve had this job for 8 years working in mental health, physical disabilities and learning disability social care teams and I would easily say it is the most rewarding job I’ve had in my career.
When I left school, I had a mixture of different jobs whilst I tried to build a career in something I enjoyed. My previous jobs ranged from a personal trainer, to working in a learning disabilities day centre and most recently as a nursing assistant at Northgate Hospital.
I was 24 when I first considered pursuing a career in social work, and the biggest driving force behind my decision was from friends, family and colleagues who encouraged and believed in me. Without this I would never of had the belief to think it was something I could achieve. It’s fair to say that until I started a career in adult social care I was not settled, and looking back 8 years on, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
My journey to starting the Apprenticeship was less straightforward than most. When I started as a care manager 1, I was based in Ashington and I worked in the mental health team at Greenacres on Green Lane. It was not until other workers and managers commented on my future that I started to think about being a social worker.
At the time I didn’t have the necessary UCAS points to do the Apprenticeship, and the travel requirements to attend an access course 3 nights per week were too much whilst I was based in Blyth and living in Alnwick. But 5 years ago, I was transferred to Alnwick which made this a possibility and something I could manage.
After completing the access course, I didn’t get on to the Apprenticeship on my first attempt. Although I was very disappointed, I took encouragement from the feedback I was given, and I gained knowledge and experience over the next 12 months. In 2019 I reapplied for the Apprenticeship with Sunderland University and Northumbria Healthcare and I was successful.
Whilst doing it I continued in my role as a care manager four days a week. The other day was used to either go to Sunderland University or as a study day (alternate weeks). There is no less academic work in the Apprenticeship compared to the degree which is the more traditional route. So you need to use your own time to complete academic work.
One of the biggest strengths of the Apprenticeship is it gives you the opportunity to apply theory to practice straight away whereas a social care degree you have two placements over three years. Apprenticeships are working in social care constantly, and then they have two placements to explore how other teams and departments operate. In addition, more than 95% of Northumbria Healthcare apprentices get a job with us or in the NHS at the end of it which is great!
I enjoy the Apprenticeship as it gives me the opportunity to develop my knowledge, skills and behaviours and being a social worker allows me to make a difference, witness and influence positive change, advocate for those who can’t for themselves and to help individuals to help themselves. So, if you are thinking of doing an Apprenticeship I would say go for it!
Find out more about the range of Apprenticeships with us at https://www.yournorthumbriacareer.co.uk/apprentices