View our 2021 winners hall of fame.

Apprentices Hall of Fame


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    Jasvinder Dhaliwal

    Registered Manager at Temple Croft Care Home

    Category: Adult Care Apprentice of the Year Award

    “Throughout my learning journey, I felt more confident than ever. I now know I have what it takes to be a great leader.”

    Why an apprenticeship?

    Even before I started working in adult care, I’ve had a hunger to lead a team that helps to improve the lives of others. Starting an apprenticeship was the perfect opportunity for me to achieve this. My learning journey began at the Dryband One Company, when I was promoted to Deputy Manager at New Grove House Care Home. This was the opportunity I’d been waiting for, prompting me to identify what skills and knowledge I’d need to effectively lead and support everyone involved with our business. Starting my Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care: Adults Advanced Practice with Connect2Care has transformed my career. I was able to learn and progress immediately by offering new operational ideas and discussing their application, sharing methods to improve staff member’s skill set whilst stretching my own abilities.

    Benefitting my business

    To help our staff retain important knowledge about different medications, I’ve introduced monthly quizzes at our team meetings, giving us the chance to discuss problems and solutions. Quiz scores are improving every week, we’re becoming experts in medication, our level of service is improving and we’re having fun doing it! The leadership skills I’ve learnt throughout my apprenticeship have helped me support our team after experiencing three different registered managers within the last year! As well as being an acting manager - I’ve supported new managers by providing them with coaching, mentoring and aligning them with our company ethos. I took on additional administration responsibilities as part of the transition between managers, taking my hours from part-time to full-time. I realigned my apprenticeship to include finances, payroll and HR to expand and broaden my abilities With COVID-19 limiting residents’ visits in the past year, I helped residents and their families connect with each other. We’ve introduced online video conferencing technology at our care home, providing the much needed visual element to communication. With the return of in-person visits, I’ve redesigned our space to create a ‘safe environment’ as visits return to normal.

    The Connect2Care difference

    Throughout my learning journey, I felt more confident than ever! I now know I have what it takes to be a great leader. Tracey helped me to safely manage New Grove House Care Home and provide emotional, professional and developmental support for our team. So far, I’ve encouraged six team members to start adult care apprenticeships! Having more of our team in training provides our service users with highly qualified, motivated and passionate staff that their families can have confidence in. I was delighted to complete my apprenticeship as it helped me secure a promotion to Registered Manager at another Dryband One Company facility, Temple Croft Care Home. I can look back on my work with pride and look to the future with optimism thanks to my training.
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    Zoe Keeton

    Employment Specialist at Lincoln Partnership Foundation Trust Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Service

    Category: Healthcare Apprentice of the Year

    “My apprenticeship training has completely changed my life.”

    Why an apprenticeship?

    In 2016, I was a patient on a mental health ward struggling with my own mental health issues. Thankfully, I made a full recovery with the support from the hardworking and amazing NHS staff. Essential to my recovery was the regular communication with Individual Placement Support (IPS) Employment Specialists which kick-started my journey into meaningful employment. The crucial role the IPS Employment Specialists played inspired me to pursue my own career. I wanted to be able to help people recover from mental health problems, just as they’d helped me. I left school at 16 without any formal qualifications, like GCSE’s, which was an initial stumbling block for me. But my IPS Employment Specialist told me of the opportunities available through apprenticeships with the NHS. An apprenticeship was the perfect way for me to both earn the qualifications and experience I needed to succeed in the industry and kick-start my career. I started out as a volunteer on the mental health wards of Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (LPFT) before gaining a place as a Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprentice. Since starting my apprenticeship I’ve had the good fortune of receiving two promotions - becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant on the wards, before being promoted into my dream role of IPS Employment Specialist!

    Benefitting my business

    The combination of my apprenticeship training and personal experience empowers me to help people get back into employment as part of their recovery. I’m able to help improve patients’ employability by working with them on their CVs, helping them gain work placements and signposting them to training opportunities. The benefits of helping service user’s return to work are important to everyone. A patient out of hospital with a purpose in their life reduces the likelihood of them returning due to mental health problems. My experience and apprenticeship training has given me the platform to promote the importance of good mental health in a variety of different ways to reach as many people as possible. I’ve been interviewed by local radio stations, released a video for Time to Talk Day, produced a vlog and even won an award for my work.

    The Connect2Care difference

    My Training Consultants have helped me kick-start my dream career, obtain essential qualifications and, most importantly, given me the opportunity to be a part of the IPS team who helped me when I needed it the most. We've had extended sessions together where they assess my wellbeing at any given time to ensure I’m not overloaded with more work than I can cope with. Words can’t describe how much this helped keep my mental health on track! My confidence has come on in leaps and bounds since the start of my apprenticeship. I’ve developed an instinct to apply logic to everything I do and believe in my ability to make the right decisions. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to help others seek out a better life - just as others did for me back in 2016. I will continue to promote and expand the positive outlook on mental health, giving back to the industry that gave me everything.
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    Georgia Newton

    Early Years Practitioner at Choo Choos Day Nursery

    Category: Early Years Apprentice of the Year

    “My learning journey gave me confidence by teaching me how to make changes that positively impact those who need it the most.”

    Why an apprenticeship?

    I’ve worked at Choo Choos Day Nursery since 2018, supervising and leading educational activities for children aged between two and six years old. I felt inspired to start my Level 3 Early Years Educator apprenticeship after watching friends and co-workers progress in their careers through apprenticeships of their own. Starting my apprenticeship with Connect2Care was very exciting, as I was starting my journey to achieving my long-term goal. However, in the beginning I had to get over some shyness and confidence issues, as I often struggled taking part in my speaking and listening assignments. But with strong support, practice sessions and mentoring from my manager and Connect2Care Training Consultant, Hanna, my self-belief and communication skills have excelled.

    Benefitting my business

    Having overcome my own communication barriers, I wanted to help a child in our care overcome the same barriers and I arranged a visit from a Speech and Language Specialist to help me. Using my knowledge of the child’s personality and development, I researched where they were in the areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and came up with a personalised plan to help them progress. A key factor in helping this child progress was implementing a 'now and next' board. The board shows our children what activity they’re doing right now and what will happen next, allowing them to prepare and giving them something to look forward to. Due to its success we’ve implemented it as part of our daily routine and not just for those needing additional support. After evaluating the space in the nursery, I felt that our garden was not being used to its full potential. Creating a blueprint of our garden and using our resources – I created a 'junk shop' for our children! The garden has adopted the look of a junkyard, including upcycled equipment and toys. The children are now thriving in this space, impressing their parents and showing notable improvements in their social and imagination skills. One child even built his own ‘bonfire’ and acted as the junkyard owner!

    The Connect2Care difference

    In addition to helping me to overcome my shyness, Hanna helped me believe that I can accomplish anything in my life! My learning journey gave me confidence by teaching me how I can make changes that positively impact those who need it the most. After improving the communication and imagination skills of our children with a few small changes, I’m eager to identify other areas of how we can improve the environment for both our children and staff in the future. I feel like I’m better equipped to lead our team through whatever challenges come our way, using the creative problem solving that I learnt through my apprenticeship. Without the support of Connect2Care, I would still be a shy employee waiting for the chance to work towards my long term goals. Now that I’ve completed my apprenticeship, I’m confident that I can manage a team one day and continue to offer children a fun learning environment, both keeping them on track and excelling in their development.
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    Tamzin Dougal

    Trainee Deputy Manager at Park House Care Home

    Category: Extra Mile Apprentice of the Year

    “I am living proof that you can accomplish anything if you have the courage to pursue it.”

    Why an apprenticeship?

    Throughout my life, I’ve felt it’s my purpose to make others’ lives better in any way I can. This is what attracted me to pursue a career in adult care. I started my adult care career in 2016 and have been working as part of the Park House Care team for 3 years. My main goal was to work in a position that allows me to use my creativity and make changes to benefit our residents. To work towards this, I sought opportunities for skills-focussed leadership training. With support from my manager, I started my Level 3 Adult Care Worker apprenticeship with Connect2Care which resulted in my promotion to Trainee Deputy Manager! I was excited to start gaining the skills to become a reliable leader with the help of my Connect2Care Training Consultant, Rachel. Unfortunately, just months into my apprenticeship I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Continuing my journey

    Rachel and my manager were very supportive after I received my difficult news, allowing me to have time off from work and learning to attend hospital appointments. Regardless of my diagnosis and the additional stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was determined not to let it affect either my career or learning journey. Feeling motivated by the prospect of improving the welfare of our residents, I worked closely with Rachel, remained positive and strived to continue my apprenticeship. Around 6 month into my apprenticeship, I had to reduce my workload and put my responsibilities as Trainee Deputy Manager on hold due to my health, adjusting my working hours and learning as a result. In June 2020, my health deteriorated further and I was admitted to hospital. I had to undergo treatment which forced me to take a 6 month break in learning.

    The Connect2Care difference

    I’m eternally grateful for the professional and emotional support I received from Rachel, my Connect2Care Training Consultant. Following my diagnosis and treatment, Rachel remained in constant contact with me for general chit-chat and to check on my wellbeing, helping me through the dramatic changes in my life. After having much needed time off to rest, recover and regain my strength, I was excited to finish what I had started. In February 2021, I contacted Rachel, letting her know that I wanted to get back to work and complete my apprenticeship. I picked up where I left off, learning techniques to support our residents, providing emotional and physical support to help them live comfortably and enjoy their lives to the fullest. With amazing support, I learned the skills necessary to further support our residents and effectively lead our team. Additionally, I regained my position as Trainee Deputy Manager and have now successfully completed my Level 3 Adult Care Worker apprenticeship! Completing my apprenticeship and beating cancer has given me so much confidence and a new lease on life. I am living proof that you can accomplish anything if you have the courage to pursue it.

Employers Hall of Fame


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    Elswick House Nursery School

    “Elswick House Nursery School is establishing itself as a business with highly talented and skilled employees.”

    Category: Small Employer of the Year

    Established in 1986 by owner Linden Green, Elswick House Nursery School has provided education, fun and good memories to children in South Staffordshire for the last 35 years.

    Elswick House Nursery School has a small and diverse team. This enables them to draw on their staff's unique skills and experiences to supplement their curriculum. As well as allowing staff to play to their strengths, they wanted to build a team of leaders with well-rounded skills, capable of working with all age groups. They put their plan into action by working with the national training provider and specialist in early years education, Connect2Care.

    Linden said: “In addition to our employees offering their unique skills to all ages within our curriculum, we’d like them to have a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification as a minimum. Our partnership with Connect2Care helps us work towards that whilst filling skills gaps and giving our staff the confidence to lead in all of our age groups.”

    Linden said: “Two members of staff needed to fill gaps in their qualification to make them eligible to deliver early years education. One developed her skills to teach an early years maths programme to school leavers, and was able to bring them well up to Reception level. By learning at different levels, everybody has supported each other with the help of Connect2Care’s Training Consultants to acquire new skills and address areas for improvement in their abilities.”

    Linden said: “Our investment in the professional development of our staff has been a tremendous success so far. We’ve retained 100% of our staff and we’re proud to now have an entire team that is educated to Level 3 or above in our business.”

    Elswick House Nursery School prides themselves on being a company that utilises the talents of their staff. Their childcare practitioners have used their creativity and talent to create new and exciting new activities for the children.

    Linden said: “One of our staff members is an experienced dance teacher and has developed the music and dance area of the curriculum, which was shown to great effect when it was presented to the parents at our recent Leavers Presentation Ceremony. When it once again becomes possible, we shall take our children to entertain patients at our local hospice with our music, singing and dancing talents.”

    Under staff direction, the children also make harvest breads in the shape of harvest mice and hedgehogs to decorate our local church at harvest time, and paper angels to adorn the pews at Christmas.

    Elswick House Nursery School is establishing itself as a business with highly talented and skilled employees.

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    “Broadacres are working hard to ensure that staff are motivated, valued and have career opportunities.”

    Category: Medium Employer of the Year

    For the last 30 years, family-owned Broadacres has provided comfort and luxury for the elderly residents of Barton Turf, living up to their unrivalled reputation as a leading adult care provider in Norwich.

    In 2019, Broadacres Manager, Kim Lavery established a partnership with one of the UK’s leading providers of adult care apprenticeship training, Connect2Care. Her plan was to give staff the chance to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours they needed to excel in their roles and careers.

    They began their partnership by enrolling staff onto the Level 2 Adult Care Worker and Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeships.

    Kim said: “I entered the adult care industry through an apprenticeship myself and progressed into a management role. I wanted to give our team the same opportunities. I felt it was important to work with a reliable training provider to offer our staff the best opportunities possible starting with the Level 2 Adult Care Worker and Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeships.”

    Working towards creating a team of experts, Broadacres regularly enrol their staff onto a range of courses for continuing professional development (CPD). This empowers staff with the skills to offer further support to residents and their families.

    Kim said: “Implementing apprenticeships for our staff has created a culture of learning in our business. Using skills from their learning, some of our staff take on additional responsibilities and run in-house training courses to support the wider team - our staff run training in infection control, safeguarding, diabetes and end of life care.”

    With an ambition to encourage young people to consider a future in the sector and help them to get their foot on the career ladder, Broadacres have been employing and offering work experience to 16-17 year-olds since 2016.

    Kim said: “Working with local schools, we offer students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. The students often help with simple day-to-day care, serving food and drinks and running activities for the residents to encourage social interaction.”

    Broadacres is an inspiration as an employer, to their local community, and other adult care providers. They encourage staff of all ages and professions to enrol on apprenticeships, improve their skills and create their own career paths. Their staff have been offered promotions after completing their apprenticeships, with others choosing to progress from their Level 2 Adult Care Worker apprenticeship onto the Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship.

    Kim said: “So far, we’ve had 20 of our staff complete adult care apprenticeships. In addition, one of our team members has progressed to complete their nursing degree, other staff have taken on another apprenticeship or assumed a specialist role in areas such as falls prevention or diabetes.”

    Kim continued: “Since the implementation of apprenticeships, we’ve had a substantial decrease in miscommunication errors. The learning has helped staff to understand the importance of documenting everything in our work and greatly improves the handover process between shifts.”

    Broadacres are working hard to ensure that staff are motivated, valued and have career opportunities. Empowering staff has given their residents access to service and care of the highest quality.

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    Audley Group

    Audley Group are filling skills gaps to create a team of adult care experts

    Category: Large Employer of the Year

    Since 1991 Audley Group has been a market leader in luxury retirement villages. They offer exceptional, round-the-clock personal care and healthcare to their residents through Audley Care and Mayfield Care. They employ more than 800 staff across 13 different sites - with five new sites scheduled to open in 2022.

    Audley Care and Mayfield Care have a large adult care team of 400 specialists situated across the country - meaning providing consistent training across multiple locations posed a challenge. They were also battling low staff retention rates which they were keen to address by offering professional development opportunities to their workforce.

    Head of Audley Academy, Ellen Copperthwaite, said: “Due to the rise in the average age of the UK’s population, the number of people living with dementia is growing along with it. This has resulted in an increased interest in care providers having both highly qualified and dementia-trained staff members, that’s what we’re striving for.”

    Within the adult care sector, staff gain experience in fast-paced and often intense environments - leaving minimal time to learn valuable skills off-the-job that could help them progress. Audley Care and Mayfield Care have worked diligently with Connect2Care to fill skills gaps and build their reputation as a company invested in their workforce.

    Audley Group’s Academy Partner, Jessica Lambert, said: “Working with Connect2Care has enriched our training programme with additional opportunities now available to every position in our business. We’ve enhanced our level of care and have implemented training courses throughout Audley Group – no matter what your role.”

    By offering Connect2Care’s Level 2 in The Principles of Dementia Care course and Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship to their staff, they’re developing leaders and creating a team of specialists at the same time.

    Jessica added: “Since enrolling 22 staff onto the Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker and Level 4 Lead Practitioner in Adult Care apprenticeships, we’ve retained 100% of those staff. Additionally, we have a confident and fully competent workforce of leaders, capable of helping our residents to have a safe and fulfilling life.”

    By focussing on the education of their staff, Audley Care and Mayfield Care have noticed a wave of positivity throughout their business. Jessica said: “Since training our staff, our residents and their relatives are more relaxed with the knowledge they’re being cared for by highly-trained specialists.

    “Staff feel supported, which has increased their confidence that they’re doing a good job and there are career paths for them. Both of these factors are providing excellent word of mouth and recommendations for the adult care side of our business.”

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    Independence Matters

    “Independence Matters is on track to establish themselves as the social care provider of choice”

    Category: Best Community Outreach Programme of the Year

    Aiming to be the social care provider of choice, Independence Matters provides 26 different care provisions to their local communities for adults with disabilities, older people, those with dementia and young people in transition from children’s services, across their 19 sites in Norfolk.

    In 2017, Independence Matters began a partnership with one of the UK’s leading providers of adult care apprenticeship and vocational training, Connect2Care. Lorraine Nuccoll, Coach and Wellbeing Manager for Independence Matters, said: “Working with training providers in the past had had a damaging outcome, so we were reluctant to work with another provider. We even looked into becoming a provider ourselves!”

    Lorraine continued: “However, Connect2Care quickly demonstrated their eagerness to engage with us, improve the skills of our colleagues and help us to improve our care provisions. This gave us confidence that they weren’t another provider only interested in our levy funds, prompting us to drop our plans to become a provider.”

    With a diverse range of care provisions for over 900 customers, Independence Matters identified the need to provide structure and expand training opportunities for all in order to meet their company ambitions and fully support their community. They started by creating career paths in their business, offering Level 2 Adult Care Worker, Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker, Level 4 Lead Practitioner in Adult Care and Level 5 Leader in Adult Care apprenticeships to their workforce.

    Lorraine said: “Connect2Care helped us to effectively use our money to establish a training structure at the heart of our business. We’ve created career paths from Level 2 to Level 5 and built the Level 5 Leader in Adult Care apprenticeship into the recruitment process for new managers.”

    Since the establishment of their training programmes, Independence Matters has had substantial success in their completion rates. Lorraine said “Since 2017, 37 of our colleagues have completed or are in the process of completing a Level 2 to Level 5 apprenticeship. Additionally, we’ve seen 36 of our colleagues complete Level 2 vocational courses - helping to increase our specialisation and most importantly the service we offer to our customers and the community.”

    Essential to their company ethos, Independence Matters work tirelessly to provide more than just adult care provisions. Lorraine added: “We provide bespoke community-based support to our customers, helping them develop skills for independence. This can be small things such as helping them to access local amenities, assisting with travel, how to manage their home, or cook meals.”

    Key to helping customers gain more independence; Independence Matters offers the opportunity to gain employment experience at their very own pet bedding business - Norfolk Industries.

    Lorraine said: “Norfolk Industries supports and assists some of our customers who have disabilities, are long-term unemployed or have other disadvantages in the work arena, but most importantly have a desire to become work ready. Norfolk Industries already has a workforce which comprises of more than 50% of people with disabilities and demonstrates that a business can be run effectively with a commitment to social corporate responsibility.”

    With training programmes in place and a community-based approach at their core, Independence Matters is on track to establish themselves as the social care provider of choice.