Apprenticeships hailed as the answer for care sector shortages

By Anita Jaynes on 17 March, 2016

Leading local home care provider, First City Nursing and Care, is calling for more young people to consider adult social care apprenticeships to help meet Swindon’s need for carers.

Recent figures from Skills for Care show that Swindon has an above average need for care workers, with 10.9% of care roles currently being vacant, compared to the rest of the south west, at 7.4% of roles.

With the average age of a Swindon care worker at 40 years, with 17% of the workforce aged 55 or over, Skills for Care predicts that this could result in an additional need of approximately 400 roles as this proportion retire.

Swindon’s First City Nursing and Care is acutely aware of this current and future shortage and are encouraging more care firms to do as they are and grow their own talent through apprenticeships.

Working with their sister organisation, First City Training, they take an average of six apprentices a year to provide the adult social care training, skills and qualifications that these young people need.

After completing their apprenticeships, they are fully qualified and highly skilled enabling them to provide excellent care, just like recent ‘graduate’ apprentice Natalie Roberts, who has this week won an Intermediate Apprentice Award at the Swindon Apprenticeship Awards.

Natalie, 19 from Rushey Platt, was just 17 when she started her Health and Social Care Level Two apprenticeship.  Having experienced the high level of care and compassion provided to her grandmother by carers from The Care Company, part of the First City Group, Natalie decided she wanted to join the caring profession.

She said: “The apprenticeship has given me a great start and shown me that there are lots of paths and opportunities open to me to continue to develop my career.

“I liked the fact that with an apprenticeship I would be learning at the same time as working.  I knew that at 17 I wasn’t ready for a full-time, independent job but this gave me the opportunity and support to gradually work up to this. All through the year I had lots of support and I was always with someone, learning from them at the beginning and then getting more hands-on as I progressed.  The apprenticeship also allowed me to complete specialist units in areas such as dementia, infection control and medication.

“Even now that I have my qualification I’m continuing to learn more and am completing a NCFE course on mental health awareness.

“I was quite shocked and surprised to find out I had been nominated for this award and so winning it was even more of a surprise.  It was a nice feeling to be nominated and it did make me think that I must have done quite well through my apprenticeship.”

Stephen Trowbridge, managing director of First City Nursing and Care, added: “Natalie has excelled through her time with us and really deserved this award.  Her confidence has grown tremendously and our clients really value and appreciate the care she gives them.  She always showed a real desire to learn and a passion for helping people, which is what makes a great care worker.

“We believe apprenticeships are vital in helping grow a new generation of excellent care workers and would encourage more people to consider them as a first step in their careers, as well as more care providers to offer them and help build up this much-needed workforce.”

For more information on First City Nursing and Care, visit or call 01793 434222.
Pictured above: Natalie Roberts