Supporting Apprentice Key Workers through the Pandemic

Cambridge Regional College applauds assessors and apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week as they continue to face the challenges of being key workers through the pandemic.

Julie Thorogood has been employed by Cambridge Regional College in a variety of roles for over twenty years, most recently as Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) for Health and Social Care. In addition, Julie works in her main role as a Registered Nurse/Training Manager in a care home.

Over the years, Julie has been actively involved with apprenticeships and during the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been IQA for two care staff on apprenticeship diploma courses with CRC.

Julie said, “The challenges that our care home has faced during the pandemic are vast. It was important to me that the apprentices were fully supported during the pandemic and the decision to be the IQA for the programme enabled me to monitor this through the additional pressures we were all facing at work. I have an excellent relationship with my colleague who is Assessor for the programme, and also a registered nurse. Her support and knowledge of specialist practice has been invaluable.”

WBL Assessors

The personal challenges faced by the apprentices has differed throughout the pandemic. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, one is progressing onto a scheme with Addenbrookes Hospital that enables her to work as a Care Assistant while training to be a Registered General Nurse. This is a fantastic achievement from a starting point of working in the care home laundry as a Saturday girl at the age of 16. The other apprentice will remain on the programme as the challenges she has faced have meant that she has required extra support and guidance from the Assessor.

Julie added, “In practice, my role means that I am involved in the support of staff and their anxieties on a daily basis. It has been a difficult and demanding time and one of the biggest challenges I have faced is in trying to give the apprentices 20% off-the-job hours when I had shifts that needed covering in the care home.

On a positive I have been able to observe practical knowledge, skills and behaviours develop over this period, as the added pressures of working through a pandemic have resulted in new competencies and skills evolving in the workplace. This experience will mean the apprentices will leave us with an enhanced skill set, something that the care home has benefited from greatly.”

Find out more about apprenticeships at CRC.

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