Case Studies

John Cronin, Discovery Day Nursery

After starting A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Business and Health and Social Care, John Cronin wanted to change direction. His Head Teacher recommended an apprenticeship in Child Care and Skills Group matched him with Discovery Day Nursery, where he is working towards his Level 3 Early Years Educator apprenticeship.

I did a year of A Levels and realised that staying on at school wasn’t for me; it was hands-on experience in the Child Care industry that I really wanted. Now I’m being paid to learn, building on existing skills and gaining new ones.

The best part of my apprenticeship is watching the children grow as individuals. I can definitely see myself progressing in this sector and maybe even going into teaching in the future. If you know what you want to do, a Skills Group apprenticeship can get you there.

Tom Mitchell, Castle Ham Lodge

Tom Mitchell left school with Ds in GCSE Maths and English, and didn’t know what he wanted to do next. Castle Ham Lodge offered Tom a job as a support worker and recommended an apprenticeship with Skills Group. After completing his Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care, Tom has joined South Western Ambulance Service as an Emergency Care Assistant.

I never really enjoyed school. An apprenticeship was great for me because I could be in education outside of the classroom at the same time as being in the workplace. If you can earn money while you’re learning, you have the motivation to do it. I also like the fact that doing an apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to progress in my career.

If I went back to school now, I would tell students, “Work as hard as you can, but even if you leave with Ds like I did, get your Functional Skills and you can do whatever you want to do.” I’ve been told that I can apply to enrol as a student paramedic in 12 months via the progression route.

Ethan Clarkson-Bates, Children's Day Nursery

Ethan Clarkson-Bates knew he wanted to go straight into work after sixth form and Careers South West recommended an apprenticeship.

After a bit of research, Ethan realised this was exactly what he was looking for as he liked the idea of earning while learning. Skills Group placed Ethan with a local children’s day care nursery on a Child Care apprenticeship, following the Social Care pathway.

School gave me a chance to try things, but I never settled on anything as such. I knew I’d always been interested in developing children and the apprenticeship programme was perfect for me.

It’s been an enlightening experience – it tests how much you know and shows you how to learn from it.

This is a very fulfilling role and I would certainly recommend an apprenticeship – as well as Skills Group – to people who are interested in this line of work.

Jessica York, Waypoints

I stayed at school to do my A Levels, but didn’t want to rush into doing a degree. I was interested in Social Care but wanted to try this out first, so I had a look on the internet and found the Skills Group apprenticeship website.

My job at Waypoints is really rewarding. I’m getting loads of experience and earning while I’m learning. Having worked alongside the nurses, I decided to apply for a nursing degree at Plymouth University. My apprenticeship helped me get my place, definitely – and when I start my placements I’ll already know how to do lots, like using the hoist, testing blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and the neurological tests.

Julie Selves, Palm Tree Home Care

My background is actually in hospitality, I was running a restaurant 10 years ago. I decided this wasn’t enough for me and after a conversation with a friend, I ended up applying for a job with the Guinness Care Trust where she worked.

I started as a carer and I loved it. I worked my way up to team leader and eventually progressed onto registered manager. It was really hard work but so rewarding.

With everything I’ve learnt I set up Palm Tree Home Care with a friend. Palm Tree is a dementia friendly domiciliary care agency with 15 staff. We look after vulnerable adults for over 70 families. And I’m still learning! I am now doing my Level 5 Management qualification with Skills Group and all of our staff are doing their Level 2 and 3 qualifications with Skills Group.

Megan Valentine, Compton Valley Nursery and Pre-School

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but felt I had outgrown school. I had enjoyed organising primary school activities for one of my GCSEs, so when I saw the Skills Group prospectus I looked into apprenticeships and decided to apply for this vacancy with Compton Valley.

While I’m at work I’m developing my people skills. I learn much better from a hands-on approach – I have to get on with it, and I’m learning by working alongside other people who are doing the job. I love talking to the children and their parents, and enjoy being part of a team.

When I’ve finished my apprenticeship I want to continue to work with children, and who knows, I might train to become a midwife in the future!

About Us

Skills Group has over 20 years’ experience in delivering apprenticeships, working with top local employers to offer sustainable employment opportunities. We are one of the country's largest independent training providers, one of very few to be recognised as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, and in the top 5% nationally for our apprentice success rates.


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