View our 2023 winners hall of fame.

Apprentices Hall of Fame


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    Beata Beevor

    Activity Co-ordinator at Windsor Street Care Centre

    Category: C2C Adult Care and Healthcare Apprentice of the Year

    “The apprenticeship route offered a dynamic and practical way for me to develop the skills and knowledge to succeed.”

    Why an apprenticeship?

    My decision to work in adult care was more than a career choice. It was a lifestyle choice and a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for adults in various stages of care. The apprenticeship route offered a dynamic and practical way for me to develop the skills and knowledge to succeed while actively contributing to the wellbeing of those in my care. It was an opportunity to challenge myself to work to the best of my ability. In my role as Activity Co-ordinator, I recognise the importance of creating a welcoming and engaging environment for all residents in The Order of St John Care Trust Windsor Street Care Centre, an 81-bedroom home with residential, dementia and nursing households. The Level 2 Adult Care Worker Activities Standard apprenticeship enabled me to learn from experienced trainers and also motivated me to improve my English and communication skills as my first language is Polish.

    Benefitting your business

    Since completing my apprenticeship, I have taken on the roles of dementia champion, end-of-life champion and community champion and have gained valuable knowledge, skills, and abilities that I use in my everyday life and at work. Skills such as respecting personal autonomy have improved my ability to recognise a range of opinions and promote an environment of understanding, trust, and empathy. Respecting one another and putting one's own wellbeing first are crucial in the field of adult care to establish genuine connections.

    I’ve organised dementia training sessions for residents and an intergenerational project with the Gloucestershire Academy of Music and local scouts. It was heartwarming to witness the magic that happens when different generations connect through the power of music.

    As part of my end-of-life champion role, I introduced end-of-life boxes equipped with aromatherapy diffusers, informational leaflets from the local council and comfort cushions. I've successfully organised a garden club for both residents and staff, and this was recognised in the Trust in Bloom competition as the Best Overall Grounds in our South Division. Witnessing the residents actively participate in this horticultural experience was truly amazing. Even those who are nursing in bed had plants growing in their bedrooms. I am optimistic that such initiatives will contribute to achieving an outstanding rating from CQC.

    I also hold a monthly Bereavement Café and an End-of-Life Café at our local community hub where people can come together to talk, share, and support one another during difficult times. Recently, a new resident, who was born in Germany, joined our community. Recognising the importance of her cultural background, she expressed her fondness for celebrating Advent with an Advent wreath calendar. I created one for her and this small gesture not only brought joy to her face but also fostered a sense of belonging and connection. It reminded me of the power of cultural sensitivity in caregiving and how the knowledge gained through my apprenticeship truly made a positive impact on someone's life.

    The C2C training difference

    I have received incredible support during my apprenticeship training from my C2C Vocational Trainer Anna Williams. I faced some challenging moments, especially during the transition from one care home to another, but Anna always believed in me and tailored my professional development discussions to suit my needs. She helped me achieve my maths and English qualifications too. The overall experience with C2C was outstanding. The organisation's approach to exams, mocks and the final assessment was well organised, and I now plan to commence an apprenticeship in Level 3 Adult Care. My goals for the next two years centre on lifelong learning, career advancement and an unwavering dedication to improving the lives of the people under my care.

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    Imogen Probert

    Early Years Educator at Sheepwash Farm Day Nursery

    Category: C2C Early Years Apprentice of the Year

    “The apprenticeship experience was so good. I am now keen to do a Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner qualification and progress into a room leader role.”

    Why an apprenticeship?

    As I have dyslexia and require support with my learning, the practical training approach of an apprenticeship is well suited to me. After completing a Level 2 Early Years Practitioner apprenticeship with a previous employer during lockdown, I was keen to progress onto Level 3 and become fully qualified as an Early Years Educator. This, I hoped, would bring further opportunities for progression and growth in a career I am passionate about.

    I have enjoyed every step of the apprenticeship. Face-to-face lessons with my vocational trainer, Louise Woodhead, helped me fully engage and embed new skills and knowledge into my role. Louise was there to support me throughout my training along with my manager and other staff members who all motivated me to succeed and ask questions in order to progress.

    Benefitting your business

    I was not very confident when I first started at Sheepwash but as I progressed through the apprenticeship, this changed and I found myself taking on more responsibility such as doing nappy changes, monitoring dinner times, taking the children out to their parents. I also helped mentor other apprentices and support the day-to-day running of the nursery including the introduction of phonics into children’s learning. I was also able to contribute to the nursery’s recent Ofsted inspection during which we achieved outstanding in all areas.

    Parent partnerships was something I was unsure of at the start of my apprenticeship; however, I now have a fantastic professional relationship with parents and carers of the children and understand how to communicate and approach different matters as well as maintain confidentiality.

    The knowledge and skills I gained during the apprenticeship allowed me to support a wide range of children including those with additional needs. I also gained confidence in planning activities and implementing improvements within our setting. For example, as we are based on a farm, we used to take toddlers out for walks in pushchairs to experience farm life. After a discussion with my manager and deputy, we decided to encourage the toddlers to walk around the farm instead of being in pushchairs. This was hugely beneficial in helping the toddlers’ physical development and their gross motor skills.

    When I moved downstairs to the 16 – 24-month-old room, I introduced a sensory cave for the children to access and explore their senses more freely. It is so rewarding to feel I am making a positive impact on children’s daily lives by meeting their developmental needs, supporting their next steps, and creating a safe and secure environment for them. In addition to the apprenticeship, I also completed internal training on safeguarding, food hygiene as well as experiencing peer observations.

    The C2C training difference

    As part of my support for dyslexia, Louise helped me to get 25% extra time in exams, blue paper to aid my reading as well as a reader to help with the text. Having this in place helped me overcome my learning challenges and meant I could meet my full potential. I felt well-prepared for my end-point assessment which was a great confidence boost. The apprenticeship experience was so good, I am now keen to do a Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner qualification and progress into a room leader role. I could not do this without the support of C2C and my employer who has supported me throughout my apprenticeship by allocating off-the-job training and offering an open-door policy where I was always encouraged to ask questions if needed. I truly cannot fault Louise’s dedication and cannot thank her enough for putting me on such a rewarding career path.

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    Orlando Levy

    Funeral Arranger/Director at Robson & Stephens Funeral Services

    Category: C2C Funeral Services Apprentice of the Year

    “Thanks to C2C, I’m inspired to take my learning journey further and become a fully qualified Funeral Director.”

    Why an apprenticeship?

    My dad passed away when I was 15, and Robson & Stephens Funeral Services took care of his funeral. From that moment on, I felt I wanted to support and guide families through the difficult time of losing a loved one. I’m now 19 and after working for Robson & Stephens for two years, I felt it was the right time to enhance my knowledge and understanding of the industry and take on new roles arranging and directing funerals.

    By completing my Funeral Arranger apprenticeship, I am better able to provide clients with the most effective emotional support along with the best guidance through the process of arranging a loved one’s funeral. The training has allowed me to progress my knowledge and understanding, and Zoom meetings with a tutor and other apprentices brought a social side to the learning. I benefited from seeing how different independent funeral homes operate to support their clients’ loved ones. Time management was my biggest challenge because I was working full-time as well as completing my apprenticeship qualification. But I learned strategies along the way, and this has helped me better time manage my clients to ensure each family has a feeling of being a priority.

    Benefitting your business

    The apprenticeship boosted my confidence in my abilities to such an extent it allowed me to arrange and conduct funerals on my own. This independence has resulted in a significant improvement in my communication skills when faced with a range of scenarios. While being discreet, sensitive and empathetic comes naturally to me, I have discovered new ways of being highly organised and delivering great customer service. Precision is key because you only have one chance to get a ceremony right.

    During a Direct Cremation which I organised, I was able to use the skills that I gained through my qualification to provide my client with extra services such as a rose on the coffin and a piece of music to be played as her loved one entered the chapel. I also successfully arranged and directed a large funeral in my local community for a man who played in a local marching band. The band played at the funeral service after marching him through the town which was very moving.

    I have introduced new Funeral Arrangement documents to the business to document different parts of arranging a funeral, and I have created a booklet called ‘My funeral wishes’ which helps families to choose what they need and want in their own time without having the pressure of someone asking lots of questions. The aim of these new initiatives is to condense important information into a format which everyone understands and help reduce human error. I have been given the opportunity to run two of our branches and have also created a safe and secure place to start running grief support groups for people that want to get together and have a coffee and a chat.

    The C2C training difference

    Both C2C and my employer have provided me with amazing support and guidance throughout this qualification. At times when my job had an impact on my apprenticeship, my C2C Vocational Trainer Chris Willin would always be on hand to rearrange scheduled meetings without an issue. At one stage I fell behind with coursework and C2C set up a plan to get me back on track. With this support, I was able to complete all relevant assignments on time and finish my qualification on time. Chris was always contactable if I ever had any questions about an assignment. Training also included regular mock assessments which prepared me for the final exams. Thanks to C2C, I’m inspired to take my learning journey further and become a fully qualified Funeral Director.

Employers Hall of Fame


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    Sheepwash Farm Day Nursery

    “By partnering with Connect2Care, support systems are in place for staff and everyone recognises the excellent skills and abilities within the team.”

    Category: C2C Small to Medium Employer of the Year

    Sheepwash Farm Day Nursery provides outstanding care and learning for fifty children aged eight weeks to five years. Based on an arable farm in Staffordshire, the farm supplies the nursery with 100% renewable energy, including toe-warming underfloor heating from a biomass boiler, and electricity from a wind turbine operated by Sheepwash Farm.

    When the nursery opened in 2020, it partnered with Connect2Care (C2C) as part of its business plan to offer apprenticeships to help grow the team and train staff to a high standard. The development programme has proved hugely successful creating a team of home-grown specialist educators and the nursery was recently awarded an outstanding rating by Ofsted.

    Managing Director Charmaine Eagles said: “Our training includes Level 3 Early Years Educator, and we have one team member who is considering their Level 5 Early Years Lead and a chef’s qualification to be able to work in our nursery kitchen. Currently, we have four apprentices on programme and another team member in the application process.

    “Being able to give all our staff opportunities to develop personally and professionally has been massively rewarding and younger members are learning fantastic holistic skills set across early years. Through apprenticeships, we have been able to support our team through their learning journey and make them believe they can achieve anything they want to. We are also making a positive contribution to the community by giving people the opportunity to be successful.”

    As a private children’s day nursery, managers and staff at the setting have a vast knowledge of working with children and their families. They are passionate about their roles and strive to provide the best possible care and learning for children. By partnering with C2C, support systems are in place for staff and everyone recognises the excellent skills and abilities within the team.

    Staff wellbeing is a priority at Sheepwash and apprenticeship programmes help staff feel valued and included in all aspects of the nursery.

    "We offer wellbeing days to our staff, a veg bag from our vegetable patch each week along with our own pork pies,” said Charmaine. “We have an open-door policy where our staff can talk to us about anything and receive support for both work and home life. Our C2C Vocational Trainer Louise Woodhead has been a massive asset to our setting with her professional attitude and vast industry knowledge. She inspires our apprentices to reach the highest standards and always supports them if they are struggling. Louise’s communication skills are fantastic and most of all, she knows her job inside out which speaks volumes.

    “The impact of training has made us more confident as a team in supervising and conducting appraisals that enable us to focus on professional development opportunities among staff.

    “We hold regular staff meetings to enable staff to share ideas, skills and training needs and continually review and evaluate best practice. C2C has played a huge part in our ongoing staff development strategy. We have twenty members of staff, all with different ages, experience, life skills and training backgrounds and it has been great to see our apprentices learning lifelong skills and benefitting from a diverse team. Right from induction, we encourage all our staff to take on apprenticeships to grow both personally and professionally, progress in their career and keep their skills up to date.

    “Apprenticeships enable us to give staff more responsibilities in their job role and this has a positive impact on not only team morale but the children we teach too. If staff are keen to try new things, the children benefit too. At Sheepwash Farm Day Nursery, my team make my nursery. If we did not have the team we have, we would not have the positive environment we enjoy with staff, children and parents.

    “With a low staff turnover and a waiting list up until September 2025, we are able to focus on upping our registration numbers to give even more children opportunities to gain experience of our unique nursery.”

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    Co-op Funeralcare

    “The Co-op has created a levy share opportunity to support apprenticeships for individuals from under-represented groups.”

    Category: C2C Large Employer of the Year and Best Community Outreach Employer of the Year

    The Co-op is a large company of over 56,000 employees which has been in business since 1844. Co-operative businesses are owned by their members who have a say in how they are run meaning the Co-op is accountable to its members and not its shareholders. Its unique selling point and vision is to ‘Co-operate for a Fairer World’ for colleagues and the communities in which it operates. The Co-op is made up of different businesses including food retail, Funeralcare, legal services and insurance.

    The Co-op partnered with C2C in 2022 to provide colleagues within their Funeralcare business a fantastic development offer that's simple and easy to access. There are currently 425 colleagues in learning across all business areas with 190 colleagues achieving an apprenticeship standard in 2023. This includes the Level 2 Funeral Team Member and Level 3 Funeral Director provided by C2C.

    The Apprenticeship Team said: “C2C provided us with support and guidance throughout a robust subcontracting arrangement within our Funeralcare business which enabled us to successfully deliver an external audit and Ofsted to meet our obligations to deliver a good quality programme. As we moved to a full provider delivery model, we were confident C2C would provide us with the right level of support to enable a smooth transition with minimal impact to our colleagues on programme.

    “C2C has tutors with extensive experience in a niche industry, and they share their knowledge in a way to suit the individual needs of each of our colleagues. The virtual delivery also suits the needs of our colleagues and the business area in which they work.”

    The Co-op, including its Funeralcare business, goes above and beyond to support their apprentices. The talent acquisition and development team are always on hand for support, and internal training is provided on the care of the deceased, the benefits of embalming and other products and services they offer. This adds a bespoke Co-op angle to their products and services and encourages apprentices to talk with confidence and be open and honest about the product and its cost.

    Regular visits are made available to local churches, crematoriums, and cemeteries to upskill apprentices in the facilities available to them. Part of the apprenticeship is knowing and understanding competitors and how the Co-op compares. As part of the on-the-job training, learners can research competitors and use this information for their apprenticeship. Client conversation training is offered to all apprentices to help them gain confidence when talking to those grieving. Infection control and safety training is also offered to ensure the working environment is of the highest quality and mental health First Aid training is regularly rolled out across Funeralcare.

    Ensuring their apprenticeship programmes are robust is important to the business and the funeral sector, and to show their dedication and support to the wider community, they have chaired the Funeral Services trailblazer group. Roz Milligan, the Lead Talent Acquisition and Development partner, has dedicated time to chair the group since its formation. They developed the initial funeral standards by working in collaboration with other funeral businesses to ensure they had an apprenticeship standard which was fit for purpose by supporting the sector in developing existing and aspiring colleagues.

    To further support the community, the Co-op has identified a way to collaborate with like-minded partners to pledge unspent levy funds and share them in a way that supports apprenticeships for under-represented groups. The business has created an online matching service where donating employers will pledge what they are able from their levy account that would otherwise expire creating a combined pledge fund. The Co-op has an ambition to close the ‘opportunity gap’ in apprenticeships for individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds and other areas where there is under representation.

    The Co-op Academies Trust was formed in 2011 and since then, it has grown to more than 30 schools and colleges. The Trust is an education charity that exists to run and improve schools, raising the aspirations of the communities it serves Co-op also partners with the Talent Foundry to help young people from underserved communities discover what they are amazing at, develop valuable employment skills, and prepare for the world of work. They are founded on two core beliefs, and these underpin all their work. They believe that everyone has something they can be amazing at. They need to discover what that is, and they help them do that. They believe that all young people deserve equal opportunities in life, regardless of their background or financial circumstances.

    As for future goals, Apprenticeship Delivery Partner Rob Crabtree said: “We are committed to further developing our apprenticeship offer within 2024. We have already added approximately 10 additional apprenticeship standards within 2023 (some of these being new and exciting opportunities which we have never delivered previously). We envisage 2024 will see our offer grow further and exceed our 2023 growth and we have some exciting plans to enable this.”