Apprentice of the Year, 2021

Aaliya Beddows

YMCA Adult Care Apprentice, 18-year-old Aaliya Beddows from Suffolk, has been recognised for her outstanding achievement at Barham Care Home. Aaliya shares the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on her working life and learning journey…

Working in the health and social care sector, in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic, has been difficult at times. With the support of her employer, Barham Care Home, 18-year-old Aaliya took on the challenge and embarked on the Adult Care Apprenticeship Standard, which includes a Level 2 qualification in Adult Care. 

Vocational learning through the apprenticeship suited recent school-leaver Aaliya. In her own words, she explains that “apprenticeships suited me a lot better than sitting in a classroom and learning that way, I think when you practice what you are learning you understand the theory better.”

Aaliya coped well with the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 and the impact of the pandemic on herself and her job role. From the correct use of PPE and infection control measures to supporting residents to virtually communicate with their loved ones – Aaliya has demonstrated dedication, maturity and compassion.

Achievements, personal and professional

Aaliya has completed her Adult Care Apprenticeship, gaining an overall Merit. She always met deadlines and targets set by her tutor, and often asked for additional units to stretch and challenge herself further. 

Dealing with the challenges of the pandemic

Aaliya admits that her “greatest achievement would probably be getting through Covid to be honest with you – and being promoted to a senior at the end of it.”  She continues to explain some of her experiences of working through the pandemic:

“Some of my key duties I’ve been doing have been assisting my residents with eating, drinking, making sure we are wearing the correct PPE, infection control – and especially throughout Covid coming up with ways for them to still communicate with their family members – so if it FaceTime calls and sitting there and helping them, that’s quite important for us as they don’t lose that connection with their family.”

Aaliya was also one of the first apprentices to use the remote assessments for her final-end point assessment. 

A promotion

Aaliya has now been promoted to Senior Support Worker, which is an exceptional achievement (and most unusual for an 18-year-old) and she now successfully and competently leads a team of staff while on shift. 

Looking to the future

Aaliya says the apprenticeship has given her the steppingstone she needed for her career, and the skills and knowledge she needs to progress in the workplace. Aaliya has a real passion for the health and social care sector and looks forward to progressing further in the coming years through her Senior role and hopes to do a nursing degree in the future. 

“My apprenticeship has given me confidence in a workplace, developed my knowledge, a more senior position in the home and importantly the start to my career. It has made a real difference, thank you!” – Aaliya