For busy working mum Kerry Pipe, being an apprentice is the perfect way to combine her career and family life while gaining a new qualification.
Kerry, who lives in Cornwall with her husband and three-year-old son, is studying for a Level 5 Hearing Aid Dispenser apprenticeship while working with Specsavers.
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was the first provider to offer this apprenticeship, designed in partnership with the Health and Care Professions Council.
The 16-month course combines theoretical learning in anatomy and physiology with clinical skills training.
Kerry, who has worked for Specsavers for six years, said: “I think what is good about being an apprentice is that you have that practical element, so you can put what you learn into practice straight away.
“This programme will benefit me in the future personally as I can show my son that hard work pays off. I have never completed any form of further education so this will be a personal achievement for me, professionally I will be able to have a protected title and work alongside some really brilliant audiologists and continue my learning way after I have completed the programme.”
Apprentices are supported by an at-work mentor as well as a course team based at the university. Kerry’s mentor is her manager who she is able to meet with regularly to discuss the course and monitor progress.
Before lockdown, Kerry would travel to DMU to meet course mates for block learning lessons, but sessions have switched to online learning.
She added: “Studying during lockdown has thrown its challenges at me especially during the national lockdown my husband is a key worker so I had limited help with childcare alongside studying, I set myself weekly goals to ensure work was done that needed to and had to adapt the way I study and time I could dedicate to ensure I didn’t fall behind, it has been easier since the lockdown restrictions were lifted and I returned to work as I had my assigned day to study.”
Studying for the apprenticeship, and its extra qualifications, has been the perfect solution for Kerry. She said: “I really enjoy my job and am lucky enough to work with a great team.
“Obviously, Covid-19 has brought in a few challenges but we had been able to re-start appointments and I get such a lot of job satisfaction from being able to help people.
“Being able to work and learn at the same time is perfect as you can still grow your career and you don’t feel like you are missing out on not being at work.”
Posted on Tuesday 9th February 2021