National apprenticeship week
At Somerset County Council we are thrilled to be able to support Somerset Care Leavers and those with SEND backgrounds to access apprenticeship opportunities across our teams.
Over the last 12 months, we have supported 10 young people into apprenticeships, across teams such as Leaving Care, ICT and Business Support. Here’s what Kelsey, one of our Leaving Care apprentices, had to say!
Hi! I’m Kelsey, I’m Care Experienced and I’ve been completing a Level 3 Apprentice with Somerset since May 2020.
Starting an apprenticeship in Lockdown was a challenge, but the journey has been worth it. I’ve been lucky enough to have a wide range of opportunities and meet some truly inspiring people. No two days have been the same!
I supported the planning and delivery of Care Leavers Week 2021, which included taking a group of Care Leavers to Bristol for an MSHED street art exhibition. It was an amazing day and a brilliant opportunity to connect with our Care Leavers.
At the end of last year, I was invited to be involved in the Social Care Review. It was an emotional but empowering experience, and I really valued the ability to represent the views of Somerset Care Leavers on a national level. I was able to voice these again at a manager’s event in Leeds, after becoming a Young Persons Benchmarking Forum Champion for 2022. It was my first time speaking in front of a large audience, and despite my nerves I loved every second of it.
I also spoke as a Champion at the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum’s Personal Advisors event in Birmingham. I was on a panel of Care experienced young people discussing the importance of Leaving Care Worker support. It was great to meet Leaving Care Workers from different Local authorities, share positive stories and ideas for the future.
I have really enjoyed my Apprenticeship and the experience, confidence and drive for the future that has come with it. Being in an environment which understands Care Leavers has helped me to feel supported on my best and worst days; and allowed me to grow as both a person and a professional.
Looking forward, I’m excited to continue to use my views and experiences to support positive changes within the service.
I have been successful in securing my Level 4 Apprenticeship. This year is looking bright, busy, and filled with new challenges already!
These apprenticeships would not be possible without the incredible support of our apprentice managers who work tirelessly to ensure our apprentices are given high quality experiences and encouraged to fulfil their potential. Val Marshall has worked with 4 leaving care apprentices over the last year;
‘Supervising and supporting the Apprentices with their qualification and day to day responsibilities has been a privilege. Their support as part of the Leaving Care Teams and their involvement with Participation with Care Leavers has given them a better understanding of their peers’ views and Care experiences which helps to bring about change. Young people often feel more comfortable to speaking to someone who has had similar life journey’s as themselves. The Apprentices work in an understanding environment which has enabled them to grow, develop and choose their next steps in employment, education and training’.
We’ll continue to support young people from a variety of backgrounds through our various entry routes, including traineeships, apprenticeships and work experience placements.