National Apprenticeship Week: ExtraCare’s IT Apprentice, Paul Humphries
For Paul Humphries, an apprentice in the IT team at The ExtraCare Charitable Trust’s Head Office, working at the charity not only provides him with an income but has completely transformed his life.
Caring for his dad, who is profoundly deaf, for nearly five years, had an extreme effect on 24-year-old Paul’s mental health. He felt isolated and developed severe social anxiety, as he watched his peers getting full-time jobs, moving into their own homes, or enjoying nights out.
So, when his dad’s own mental health started to improve and there was less need for Paul to provide care full-time, he started the job search.
Admittedly, with a five-year gap in his CV, Paul found it difficult to secure a role and after seven months of sending off unsuccessful job applications, he heard about the apprenticeship opportunity at ExtraCare. Within just a matter of weeks, Paul, who had studied IT at college, had applied, been interviewed and had successfully got the position.
“I was shy and awkward before I got the job,” says Paul, of Solihull, who will gain a Level 3 Award in IT Infrastructure. “My mental health had suffered a lot when I was caring for my dad and I felt like there was no way out. I was scared to leave the house and now, I feel confident to go anywhere.
“I’m a different person now, compared to when I started. Working at ExtraCare has had such a positive effect on me, I’ve completely come out of my shell.”
Paul, who started the apprenticeship in June 2019, has recently been given a ‘Gold Star Learner’ Award by QA, the external technology company overseeing his apprenticeship programme. The Gold Star Learner Award reflects Paul’s high level of attendance at classes and first-time pass rate of his exams.
Not only on a personal level but Paul has also found the apprenticeship has helped him develop professionally. He has learned new skills, is working within a mixed team and is supporting residents and staff.
“Having cared for my dad, I have a passion for the care industry, so it’s great to be able to work at a charity which supports older people,” he added.
“Working at ExtraCare provides me with a great stepping stone in my career and will hopefully open a number of other doors in the future.”
If you are interested in developing your skillset, or would like to hear more about apprenticeships at ExtraCare (for current staff and external candidates) please email Anita Holden on Anita.Holden@extracare.org.uk
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