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Apprenticeships in care: Earn while you learn

Are you looking to work with children or adults? Have you considered an apprenticeship?

If you are over 16, want to gain experience and get paid then an apprenticeship might be the right option for you. While working you will study towards a qualification relevant to the role you are employed to do.

Apprenticeships are available in Welsh and English, so you can learn new skills and develop your Welsh language in the workplace.

There are apprenticeships available at levels 2,3,4 and 5. Apprenticeship roles vary from day care or creche assistant practitioners and social care workers to managers and deputy managers of early years and social care settings.

Funding is available for apprenticeships. The Welsh Government pays for the training element while the employer pays for the employment costs, such as salary.Training funding supports new apprentices in apprenticeship jobs as well as those workers who are already in employment wishing to up-skill and gain recognised qualifications for their area of work. Eligibility criteria applies.

Apprenticeship jobs are advertised all year round and can be found on the Welsh Government website, Careers Wales website, on the jobs pages of local authority websites and individual social care and early years organisations websites.

Sion Page, Services Manager

We spoke with Sion Page, a Services Manager for Integra Community Living, who supports individuals in residential care homes for a short period of time following discharge from hospital…

Sion Page, Services Manager
Sion Page, Services Manager

Can you describe your role?

I am the Services Manager for two residential care homes in Carmarthen, supporting people with mental health problems. The purpose of the homes is to help people develop social skills and adapt to living independently in society after leaving hospital.

Why did you want to work in care?

I didn’t know I wanted to until I worked in care.

I left school and went to work in Matalan, where I developed and became a manager. I then went on to work in a GP practice for six months.

I got a phone call from a friend of mine who worked in care, to say that a care home for men with mental health problems was opening in Carmarthen. My friend had worked for the company for years and thought the job would suit me well. I was interviewed and offered the job.

How did you become a service manager?

About a year later there was an opportunity to help out a little more as a member of staff was unwell. If I wanted to do the job full-time I had to complete my qualifications.

Integra Community Living support their staff to complete training and apprenticeships relevant to their role with The Educ8 Group. I completed a level 3 apprenticeship and then went on to complete a level 5 apprenticeship, working while gaining the qualifications.

Why did you complete your apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh?

I started my first apprenticeship in English. Two to three units into the apprenticeship my assessor asked if I spoke Welsh and if I preferred to complete the apprenticeship through the Welsh language. I felt like I was taking in more of the information in Welsh.

What is it like working in care?

I thought care was just personal care, but there is so much more. I didn’t know there were services like this available.

Working in care gives you a great sense of achievement. I enjoy this kind of work and it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

Why should people consider working in care?

This is the most rewarding job anyone can have! The job gives you complete pride, knowing that you are helping people.

Chloe Paterson, Daytime Opportunity Support Worker

We spoke with Chloe Paterson, who recently completed an apprenticeship programme and works for Rhondda County Council as a Daytime Opportunity Support Worker. On a day to day basis, she supports adults with learning disabilities in a variety of activities, building up their independence and teaching them new skills….

Why did you want to work in care?

I wanted to learn more about adults with learning disabilities. My brother is autistic, and I wanted to have a stronger bond with him.

How did you start working in the care sector?

I left school at 16 and did the pathway course at Coleg Y Cymoedd. As part of the one-year course I had to do a placement in a day centre, where I am currently working.  I had to complete assessments and assignments, and my tutor would come out to watch me working with individuals.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

When I finished my pathway course a staff member told me about Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s apprenticeship and encouraged me to do it.

What did you have to do to gain the apprenticeship?

A staff member at the day centre gave me the application and then I was contacted for an interview.

The applications are available on Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s website.

What was the apprenticeship like?

It was a two year apprenticeship where I completed my level 2 and 3 qualifications. My tutor would come and speak with me and my manager at the day centre to see how I was getting on. I was left to do my work and I never felt like anyone was on my case.

I could have done my studying during my work hours, but I never did, I always studied it in the evening. I enjoyed my role interacting with the individuals in my care, watching them grow and develop.

What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship in care?

Definitely go for it! It’s really worth it. You’re getting paid to learn and there’s a lot of support.

I wasn’t a fan of school, I like being practical rather than in the classroom so having the apprenticeship helped me massively.

Lleucu Edwards, Leader of Cylch Meithrin Eco Tywi

We spoke with Lleucu Edwards, the Leader of Cylch Meithrin Eco Tywi, who has just finished her Level 5 Leadership and Management in Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development apprenticeship through the medium of Welsh…

Lleucu Edwards
Lleucu Edwards, Leader of Cylch Meithrin Eco Tywi

Why did you decide to do a Level 5 apprenticeship?

Childminders, day care and play services in Wales are registered and inspected by the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) and they advise Cylch leaders to complete Level 5 training.

I had just started my role as Cylch Meithrin Eco Tywi’s Leader when the COVID-19 outbreak happened. So during lockdown I decided to complete my Level 5 training.

What experience did you have in childcare before completing your Level 5 apprenticeship?

During and after my BA Degree in Early Years Education, I gained a lot of experience working with children in nurseries, schools and with Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

Why did you choose to do ACT Training’s apprenticeship course?

Due to my varied and experienced background I was able to complete the apprenticeship while working and learn on the job. I was fortunate enough that there was a grant available with ACT training and my training was free.

Why did you choose to complete your training in Welsh?

Welsh is my first language. I have completed all my education through the medium of Welsh – school, university and apprenticeships. I also work with children through the medium of Welsh in Cylch Meithrin Eco Tywi.

How long did your apprenticeship take to complete?

I started my Level 5 apprenticeship at the end of May 2020 and I finished it in January this year.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?

It’s great! I’d recommend taking the opportunity to do an apprenticeship as you focus on specific units that develop your information and skills.

How do you see your career developing in the future?

I’ve always wanted to work with children. Seeing children develop brings me joy.

I will continue to develop my skills and attend relevant training. It’s important to me that I give my best to the children I care for.

For more information about apprenticeships in Wales, visit:

There are many routes into working in social care and early years. Learn about the jobs available in working with children and adults in Wales, or try our learning resource ‘A Question of Care’ to see what a career in care is like.

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