We talked to Megan Brown - Reablement Care Assistant in our Short Term Support and Reablement Team about her apprenticeship and why she chose to join our organisation.
What made you consider an apprenticeship?
At aged 18, many of my friends went off to university. I didn’t feel like university was a good fit for me, and I really had no clear idea of the career path I wanted to take.
An opportunity came up to join a new rotational apprenticeship programme coordinated by Frimley Park Trust. Optalis became my host employer for the duration of the apprenticeship. The apprenticeship was for 15 months and I started in May 2019.
At what point did you consider a career in care?
I wasn’t actively looking to pursue a career in care, but I knew I wanted to do something that made a difference. This opportunity came up and I was open to taking myself out of my comfort zone and experiencing something new.
What did your apprenticeship entail?
My first placement was at Optalis, working alongside Rehabilitation Care Assistants, Occupational Therapists and Physios. This 8 week placement, was a positive introduction to Health and Social Care. I particularly enjoyed the aspect of working out in the community.
I then took up a 4 month placement at Frimley Park Hospital, which was quite different but I was working in a great supportive team.
My next placement at Wexham Park Hospital started shortly before the pandemic took a grip. I have to admit this was a really intense and challenging time. I was working on a Covid ward, and supporting some very ill and vulnerable people. The hardest part was seeing people suffer without the support of their family and loved ones. It wasn’t long before I became unwell with the virus too.
In June I returned to Optalis to conclude my training. In August I was offered a permanent position with the organisation working as a Rehabilitation Care Assistant.
What have you learnt? Have there been any positive outcomes?
Much of the training you receive during the apprenticeship is ‘on the job’. I have found the classroom training that I have done on my various placements really interesting, but the pandemic caused much of that to stop. The reflective learning has continued throughout and I have found the support provided by Optalis to be really helpful.
I have certainly learnt new skills during my apprenticeship and have developed resilience that I didn’t know I was capable of.
One of the real positives of working in the different environments is that I can genuinely emphasise with people. Many of the people I support in my role at Optalis have been recently discharged from hospital. Having worked across both settings, I have a greater insight into the journey they have been on.
What support have you had?
The Assistant Manager at STS&R has been a great support to me. This is a new programme, so in many ways we have worked through it together. She has helped me follow up with the training provider if I had any questions, and has been proactive in trying to understand how best to support my learning.
When I was unwell the team from Optalis checked in on me to see if I was ok, and stayed in contact with me throughout my placements.
What made you choose Optalis as your employer?
I am really enjoying working at Optalis. They have been a breath of fresh air.
I like being able to support people in their own homes. In many cases their family do not live nearby, so I may be the only face they see all day. I make sure I make it count. It is a rewarding role to have.
To find out more about working for Optalis and to view our vacancies click the link below