As previously reported, grandmother of 12 Debbie Southwell was ‘Overall Apprentice of the Year’ at Trafford College Group’s Apprenticeship Awards 2020, and the education group has revealed some of the struggles she overcame to complete her course.
While completing Level 3 Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship, award winner Debbie Southwell took on several different caring responsibilities at home. Through the course of her studies, her husband and one of her four children because ill, she suffered a bad back and also started caring for one of her grandchildren.
With part of her apprenticeship including maths and English exams for the first time since leaving school, award winner Debbie lacked confidence when she began her course. However, whilst working at Four Oaks Care Home, she was swiftly promoted after staff spotted her potential. Her apprenticeship trainer and assessor, Colina Wilson said:
It has not been an easy year for Debbie, whilst doing her apprenticeship her personal life has thrown up its own challenges. Debbie started this course with very little confidence in her ability to successfully complete it, I can’t remember how many times she said she couldn’t do it or how many times I initially had to encourage her to persist – and she did.
“Despite this Debbie has continued with her course work, she has continued to attend her meetings with me, always arriving promptly with a cheery smile and a kind word for those she was in contact with. Debbie’s caring, professional and genuine interest in her job has been evident throughout her course to the extent that she has also been promoted at work. Debbie has been an excellent apprentice and clearly is very suited to her career choice.”
It was hard because I’d really get into my work and be thriving then I’d be hit again by something else in life. I couldn’t meet my assessor at times because there was so much going on, but it was Colina who kept me going. She has come to watch me in different situations and assess me. If I’m unsure about anything, we’ll meet up and she’ll explain it to me.
“I’ve much more confidence in my computing skills and a lot more faith in my English abilities. Trafford College Group have been so positive with me and really encouraging. Now, to win an award! I have never won anything in my life; I’m so excited!”
Whilst Debbie already had several years’ experience in health and social care, she found the most useful part of the apprenticeship to include the information around legislation, medication and mental health most useful. She continued:
I have got a lot of patience and always try to look at the positive side and just get on with it. That’s in my nature, but, at times, it hasn’t been easy. I do love my job, the little things, like someone who is excited to see you when you’re next coming in. However, I wanted this qualification to make sure I’m doing everything right. If you’re doing a job, I like to do it properly and Trafford College Group helped me achieve that.”