Peterborough care worker shortlisted for national BAME Apprenticeship Award

A healthcare assistant from Peterborough has been shortlisted for a national BAME Apprenticeship Award.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 2:15 pm

Adla Rodrigues, who works at PJ Care beat off stiff competition to be shortlisted in the Care category.

The BAME Apprenticeship Awards showcase the outstanding work and achievement of apprentices from black and minority ethnic groups (BAME) and inspire BAME apprentices to reach their full potential. Alongside her role at the Eagle Wood care centre on Bretton Way, Adla is studying for a Lead Adult Care Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship with Derwentside College. Adla said the course is the first step to fulfilling her ambition of becoming a nurse.

She said: “The apprenticeship is giving me the opportunity to believe in my dreams. I want to go on to do the registered nurse degree apprenticeship at PJ Care and I want to be one of the first to complete this new programme. I want to show that with determination and resilience, you can achieve anything!”

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Adla, who is originally from Cape Verde, was concerned about the maths and English skills she needed for the course as the teaching methods in her home country are very different, but says the support from her husband, her colleagues and her tutors have helped enormously.

She said: “I was able to pass my exams first time and I’m now mentoring colleagues at work. My son’s been so inspired he’s now studying health and social care at college and I can help him with his coursework.”

Part of the role of Adla’s tutor at Derwentside College, Charlotte Gent, is to observe her at work. She said she was “blown away” watching her interact with residents and said: “It was like watching two friends converse and interact with each other. She really does work for the residents she supports. In addition to this, her written work is some of the best I have seen.”

PJ Care is a leading provider of specialist neurological care for people with conditions such as Young/Early Onset dementia, Huntington’s disease and brain injuries. Most of their residents are under the age of 65 and need specialist nursing care.

The company is shortlisted, for the second year running, in the ‘Health and Social Care Employer’ category. In just two years, PJ Care has increased the number of apprentices from one to more than 12% of its 600-strong workforce, studying in business areas across the entire staff team including health and social care, team-leading, nursing, housekeeping, finance, catering, business administration and leadership and management.

“We are delighted to see Adla shortlisted,” said Chairman, Neil Russell, “and we are proud that our efforts to employ a diverse workforce, and develop their careers, haven’t gone unnoticed. 38% of our staff are from BAME backgrounds and we’ve established an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to make sure there is awareness, understanding and acceptance of everybody’s background, be it cultural, religious, economic or otherwise.

“We are conscious that studying can be more difficult for those who can’t afford to lose paid hours so we have tried to incorporate learning as much as possible within the shifts. We are also an accredited Living Wage employer so everyone, no matter what their status within the company, receives a minimum rate of £9.50 per hour.”

The winners of the BAME Apprenticeship Awards 2021 will be announced on the 30th September. Adla is hoping she will be successful so she can spread the word and encourage others to enrol in the scheme.

“Winning this award will help me to advertise why people should become even better at what they are already doing. It will also help me achieve my goal to become a nurse and I can highlight how awesome apprenticeships are to everyone who will listen to me!”