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Reaping the rewards of an apprenticeship
FOUR years ago Adele Gibbard was just another teenager looking for a job.
Now she’s part of a team dealing with one of the biggest problems facing Oxfordshire.
Mrs Gibbard works in the council’s social care team and has just been promoted to a coordinator in the community re-enablement team.
Her success comes after she was part of the Oxfordshire County Council ’s apprenticeship scheme.
And the 22-year-old from Grove has urged out-of-work young people to explore similar projects.
She said: “I was eager to learn and eager to get paid.
“The apprenticeship was good because it gave you that incentive to learn.
“I was at sixth form doing a Btec in social care so I was looking at that line of job.
“Personally I was interested in working with older adults.
“I was lucky enough that the team I did my second placement with was looking for staff at the time.
“There are still opportunities out there for people who want to work.
“I would encourage others to try apprenticeships.
“But when you go to university you don’t get the experience.
“I think I am better at my job for having done an apprenticeship.”
In 2008 Mrs Gibbard was given the council’s Apprentice of the Year award.
The former King Alfred’s pupil now works in the social care team based in Abingdon, helping hospital pat-ients return to their homes.
She has been helping to solve Oxfordshire’s bedblocking crisis, which sees hospital patients who are fit enough to be discharged hold up beds because the next phase of their care is not yet available.
She said: “I enjoy my job and I find it very rewarding.
“I like being able to help people, as well as knowing that you are saving money in the long run.”
Over the past 12 months, the council has taken on 39 apprentices, and 174 since the scheme began in 2006.
The latest available figures reveal that 452 people between the age of 16 and 24 in Oxford are classified as being not in education, employment or training.
The figure – just over eight per cent of the city’s 16- to 24-year-olds – is higher than the Oxfordshire average of 5.6 per cent.
The council’s social care apprenticeship scheme was started nearly six years ago.
It won the Most Effective Employer Investment in Apprenticeships category at the 2009 Skills for Care Accolades. Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “The council has been running an apprenticeship scheme for a number of years and is pleased with the success and the achievements of the young people who work with us.
“According to our research, over 90 per cent of our apprentices stay in employment, education or training, many with the county council or partners.”
To find out more about the county council’s apprenticeships, visit oxfordshire.gov.uk/ cms/ content/ apprenticeships-oxfordshire-county-council