Apprenticeship Week 2017: Meet Tony Bull

This week is National Apprenticeship Week and St Christopher’s is looking at some of the stories behind our six Health Care Assistants undertaking Apprenticeships This is Tony’s story.

Tony Bull is 53 and a Senior Carer in St Christopher’s Personal Care Service. He has recently completed his Level 3 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care. We asked Tony how he came to undertake an Apprenticeship, he explained, “I worked in the printing industry for 30 years before being made redundant. I then looked at a complete career change and applied to be a paramedic but it would have involved undertaking a 3 year paramedic science degree, and with a wife and children at home plus a mortgage I just couldn’t do it, so I began looking for alternatives.” Tony went on to spend two years volunteering as a community first responder and was introduced to St Christopher’s, “It was during that time that my mum had been a patient at St Christopher’s and I had seen first-hand the great work that was done here and when I saw the advert for a position as a carer I decided to apply and start a new career, so I came along to the induction and was offered the role.”

“After joining St Christopher’s I completed City & Guilds qualifications in end of life care and medications management through the education department and then spoke to my manager, Deborah Holman, who told me about the opportunity to do an Apprenticeship so I put myself forward for it. The potential to complete it over 2 years alongside a full-time job was ideal for me to maintain the right work, life balance.”

Speaking about his apprenticeship, Tony explained, “We had 12 classroom-based study days during the qualification and there was also workplace observation, which was all managed by St Christopher’s. The support from St Christopher’s was great with the cost covered by Apprenticeship funding and St Christopher’s”. Having successfully completed his Apprenticeship, Tony is mentoring and assessing new Health Care Assistants at St Christopher’s and is undertaking his Assessor qualification to support this new role. Tony said, “the CAVA (Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement) will ensure I can better understand my new learners.”

When reflecting about how the Apprenticeship has helped him, Tony said, “It has really helped me understand my job better and I’ve been able to relate the theory I learned to my day to day practice. But beyond that, it has opened up so many potential career development options to me. If I have one piece of advice to anyone thinking about starting an Apprenticeship, or maybe starting a new career in care, like me, I’d say go for it! It will improve your employability, develop you as a person and will help you find the right path for your career in care.”
Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly important for hospice workforce development and are the basis for reforms to health care and nurse training which see the introduction of Registered Nurse Apprenticeships from September 2017.

St Christopher’s Education is leading the National Hospice Education Collaborative (NHEC) in partnership with Hospice UK. The NHEC aims to support hospices in their vocational education developments including Apprenticeships. Sally Garbett who leads NHEC has over 25 years’ experience in Apprenticeships and vocational education and is involved in the Apprenticeship reforms and Shape of Caring career pathways. If you would like to find out more about the vocational education at St Christopher’s, including Apprenticeships contact Sally Garbett on s.garbett@stchristophers.org.uk

“It has really helped me understand my job better and I’ve been able to relate the theory I learned to my day to day practice."

Tony Bull, Senior Carer

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