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Eating Grapes

Ablecare Homes: Using #SharetoSupport To Fund Our Apprentices

able care homes.jpg

Able care homes have been providing residential care in Bristol for elderly people with dementia since the early 1980s. We spoke to Jayne Bowman, Group Manager, to find out how they have used apprenticeships to offer formalised training and development opportunities to their team. Able Care Homes have recently accessed apprenticeship funding support through the Share to Support scheme which has enabled them to take on 8 apprentices.

Why did the business decide to engage with Apprenticeships?

“The majority of our apprentices found their vocation with the Health & Social Care and are from all walks of life, and an array of age groups from 16 to 70. We believe in the development of knowledge for our staff teams, maintaining a high standard of care and support for our clients.”


Apprenticeships are an exciting option for both apprentice and employer. You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely. You can hire someone new or upskill existing employees. There is no age limit for apprentices, and over 700 apprenticeship standards provided nationally to choose from. Apprenticeships can be tailored to specific job roles, making them flexible to the needs of your business. As Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, the training is ‘on the job’ – at the employers' premises.


What is the Share to Support Scheme?

The Share to Support scheme allows large employers to ‘gift’ their apprenticeship funding to smaller businesses to pay for the apprentice’s training costs. Typically a small business would pay 5% towards the apprentice’s training. Run by the West of England Combined Authority and Western Training Provider Network, the scheme aims to keep training funds local and support the growth and recovery of small businesses in the West of England.  


Ablecare Homes were able to use this gift to help them cover the cost of hiring 8 new apprentices and upskilling current members of staff.


How did you find out about the Share to Support Scheme?

Our training provider, HIT Training, are members of the Western Training Provider Network (WTPN). They were aware of the scheme and connected us with the Western Training Provider Network who linked us up with Bristol City Council. Bristol City Council were able to fund 8 apprentices onto Adult Care Work Apprenticeship standards and gift their apprenticeship levy to us.

Darren Perkins, Apprenticeship Manager from City of Bristol Council commented:

“Creating social value that benefits the long-term health, well-being and employment of local citizens is a tenet of our values based approach to fulfilling our role in the city.  We actively seek opportunities that redress inequality and those that create the opportunity for all to benefit from a thriving city. The team at the Western Training Provider Network have recently started to coordinate levy transfer in the region and they have been instrumental in increasing the pace and scope of applications to our scheme.”

How has accessing apprenticeship funding support helped your business?

“The levy funding such a great way forward in allowing our team to go forward in developing their skills further within the Health & Social Care Sector. It has been a hard time in our sector maintaining a safe environment for all our vulnerable residents within the COVID pandemic, our staff team felt a sense of relief they could continue growing their knowledge to be able to support our residents and our relatives loved ones.”


How did you choose your training provider?

Ablecare Homes were looking for a training provider to deliver their Health & Social care apprenticeship.  HIT training supported the business with recruiting for the apprentices, delivering the training aspect of the apprenticeship and offering support to the business and apprentice during the duration of their apprenticeship.

“We had a great need for a new provider to support our care teams across the AbleCare Homes Group.  A previous provider had decided to stop their Health & Social Care Sector to concentrate on their hospitality sector.  This left a vast majority of our team left in the middle of an apprenticeship feeling abandoned with no way to turn.”

“HIT training were fabulous in explaining step by step all the areas, how our team could progress, with further staff members wishing to enrol. I don’t know what I would have done without Erica from HIT, she was marvellous. She supported me with all the transfers and the new enrolments.”


Did you know?

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation

  • 78% of employers reported an improvement in productivity because of apprenticeship

  • Over 600 apprenticeship standards now exist across different sectors and at different levels



Are you looking to take on an apprentice, or keen to understand your options for recruiting an apprentice or upskilling your team? Get in touch with our team. Funded by the West of England Combined Authority, we offer a free and independent apprenticeship support service for small businesses in the West of England. We can also help you understand apprenticeship opportunities available for your sector and support you to access apprenticeship funding support through the Share to Support scheme. Get in touch to talk about how we can support you: 


The Share to Support Fund is coordinated by the Western Training Provider Network and supported by the West of England Combined Authority as part of the Workforce for the Future programme. Workforce for the Future is an £8m programme – co-funded by the West of England Combined Authority and the European Social Fund (ESF) – the free service works with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through one to one support the programme is helping businesses to identify ways to stabilise, grow, adapt and understand the skills and training needs required to meet their business goals. Find out more information about Workforce for the Future here.


Find out more about a career in Health & Social Care…

If you are interested in starting your career in Health & Social Care, visit the Institute for Apprenticeships or Skills For Care to find out more:

Ablecare Homes currently have 8 Apprentices on the following apprenticeship standards:

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