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My apprenticeship gave me the chance to change career

A successful career switch from nursery teacher to the business world is reaping rewards for Rebecca Ward. Here, she shares what it was like to change career and how her apprenticeship is helping her reach her goals.


As a fully qualified nursery teacher, Rebecca Ward, had a good career mapped out ahead of her but in her late 20s realised it wasn’t something she wanted to do forever.

Determined to kick-start her career in a different direction, she began applying for administration roles but frustratingly found she was getting pipped to the post.

“I just wasn’t getting the roles because there was a lot of competition and there was always someone more qualified,” said Rebecca, now 29. “But then I spotted an apprenticeship opportunity at Heathcotes and knew I had to go for it.”

“This was a chance to work for a well-known, large employer and get hands-on experience, whilst also learning and getting a qualification.”

She got the role via Learning Unlimited as apprentice PA at the Chesterfield head office of Heathcotes Group, an organisation which works nationally to provide specialist residential care for adults with learning disabilities, mental health needs and challenging behaviours. Heathcotes is known for its commitment to local apprenticeships – the company has achieved almost 600 apprenticeship starts over the past five years and recently became an Apprenticeship Ambassador for Chesterfield.

As part of her apprenticeship, Rebecca is working towards a nationally recognised Level 3 qualification in Business Administration with the help of a tutor from Chesterfield College. The combination of practical experience that she gains while at work along with her theory-based learning, she says, has helped her progress even quicker than she imagined.

“In just 10 months I’ve been able to learn so much,” Rebecca added. “This has been a great opportunity for me. I am enjoying being an apprentice and have been given so much support.”

She said: “My apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to change direction and I’ve now found the career path that I was looking for.”