Care Plus Group is a social business which provides adult health and social care services across North East Lincolnshire. Employing more than 800 members of staff, Care Plus provides more than 45 services ranging from community nursing to physiotherapy, learning disability to substance misuse services. They have been working in partnership with learndirect since 2009 to deliver Apprenticeships to their own staff as well as the wider community through their employability programme. In the last two years more than 100 apprentices have gained their qualification through learndirect.
Sharon Stead is Care Plus Group’s Employability Services Manager and was responsible for setting up the Employability service within the organisation from its inception.
She said: “At Care Plus Group we support local adults back into sustainable employment. Apprenticeships play an integral role in this and we also provide other initiatives such as voluntary work placements, traineeships, internships and others which can help local people in to training and employment.
Sharon continues: “We started working with learndirect originally because they had been recommended by another organisation we work in partnership with as they were impressed by the quality of the service they had received and the relationship they had them. They clearly care about the people they are helping.”
“We work with learndirect to provide Apprenticeships in health and social care, catering and support work to all sorts of people over the age of 16, from people claiming government benefits, people with learning disabilities or mental health issues, to school leavers and ex offenders.
Sharon said: “We identify a vacancy and a participant and then contact learndirect to help deliver the Apprenticeship. The staff are fabulous and very accommodating. They always keep in touch and they’re only a phone call away if we ever need anything.
“The support they give to the apprentices is second to none and they nurture them throughout their journey.
“The Apprenticeships help get people into work, they provide the apprentices with both accredited and non-accredited learning and it gives them real life work experience and the option to progress.
“Care Plus Group’s aim as an organisation is to grow our own staff where possible and learndirect really helps us achieve this. The Apprenticeships allow us to keep talent in the local area and it offers a carved career pathway, not just a stand alone job.”
Eileen Halldorsson from Grimsby has completed her Apprenticeship in business admin level 2 with learndirect and Care Plus Group and now has a permanent job as an administration assistant within the Employability services department. Eileen has further progressed and completed business admin level 3.
She said: “I was made redundant after 15 years at the same company. I’d never considered an Apprenticeship before and although it was a bit daunting at first I found it really enjoyable. I’ve now achieved permanent employment and I have also mentored a new apprentice in administration. This apprentice has now gone on to gain employment as a Trainee Employability Support Officer within Employability Services.”