Learner of the year: Nicola Depledge

Nicola has worked for Bluebird Care Bury for four years. She has completed her Health and Social Care Apprenticeships at level 2 and at Level 3. She moved on to develop her leadership skills completing her ILM Level 2 Team Leader qualification and is now nearing completion of her Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management.
Nicola explained that she feels that the progression from level 2 through to Level 5 has been beneficial to her and Bluebird Care Bury. She feels that using the apprenticeship routes made available to her have helped her to develop new knowledge, developed her skills and given her a better understanding of her role and responsibilities and the needs of vulnerable people.
When informed that she has been chosen as our apprentice of the year Nicola stated that she feels very proud.

Small Employer of the year: Home Instead Warrington

The Warrington office of Home Instead Senior Care opened on 1st June 2007 and is based at Warrington Business Park. Home Instead Senior care makes a difference to the individual clients and to their family members by investing in their staff through the apprenticeship program.
“We really value the support from DHA, the assessor’s we have had really go that extra mile to bring out the potential of the candidates.  We have seen a real difference in the confidence, knowledge and the motivation of staff.
As a company DHA are always very responsive to all the various needs that crop up.  I would never consider changing to another company “they feel like friends.
I value training and development extremely highly; our vision is to bring out the potential of our care givers to be extraordinary in all they do and how they feel about themselves. So working with DH is perfect, they share our values and are a great team.
We will continue to invest in apprenticeships regardless of the 10% contribution as trained staff out whey  the risk factors of having unqualified staff”.
Melissa Chritchley.

Large Employer of the year: Future Directions

Future Directions is a valuesbased high quality care provider. Their intention is to drive the personalisation agenda so that each individual they support has their own support package to meet their individual support needs.
Future directions provide services across the North West and plan to expand further. They have invested in the Apprenticeship scheme and are seeing the benefits of a well trained workforce.

“Future Directions CIC are committed 100% to the support and development of its staff. We recognise that by making this investment it helps Future Directions to maintain and improve the company and overall social care: standards, safety, productivity and flexibility. It has also help to reduce our staff turnover and sickness.
Our commitment is evident from the top of the organisation and you often hear our Managing Director, Paula Braynion quoting Ricard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.
During July 16 we started to work with DH Associates who have 100% complimented our learning and development offer to our staff. Future Directions have found them to be supportive and responsive to our needs. Since April 17 Nicky Bagshaw (Employment & Engagement Officer) has been particularly helpful in supporting us on our journey along the Apprenticeship Pathway”.

October Learner of the Month



Natasha works for Aspire Care Services in Birkenhead. Her assessor, Joanne Moorcroft, nominated her for her dedication to her qualification and her commitment to her role. Natasha has planned her time around childcare finding extra childcare support for her three year old to attend meetings on her days off with Joanne so that observations could be completed on time. Joanne reported that Natasha’s work has always been very detailed and of a high standard. She has always met targets for completion of her work.

Joanne also reported that feedback about Natasha from the clients that she supports has been excellent.

Well done Natasha!


Network Days

BIG Changes are coming

There are major changes planned for apprenticeship funding and qualifications. We have organized 3 employer information events and hope you will be able to attend.
Stay informed and come along to one of these events.

Tuesday 21st November — 1pm – 4.00pm

DH Associates Office Buildwas Road Neston
CH64 3RU

Wednesday 22nd November —  1pm – 4.00pm

Bright Future Asher House, Barsbank lane, Warrington WA13 0ED

Thursday 23rd November — 1pm – 4.00pm

Vesta Care, Westcroft Industrial Estate, Middleton, Manchester , M24 4GJ
Light lunch will be  provided

The Agenda will include:

- Apprenticeship Reforms
· 20% off the Job training/ brief overview
· Update New Standards and qualifications
· End Point Assessment the role of the employer/Provider
· DHA e-learning platform
· Why invest in training ?

To avoid disappointment book your place early by  :
Contacting Tom on 0151 336 6900  or e-mail  tom@dhassociates.co.uk

May Newsletter

New Learners

Thank you all for your support in managing the volume of demand in the last 2 months. We did say don’t leave it to the last minute but as predicted that is how it panned out.  Hopefully most of you have benefited from the excellent support from Nicki & Eileen to access Invest in Health funds.

It has been extremely hectic for assessors and managers. We have had 400 learners start over the last 2 months, this is quadruple our usual volume.  So please be patient as the assessors try to see them all this month. We have 3 new assessors coming!

Mr Busy


Changes for Small / Medium Employers within Apprenticeship Levy

With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Reforms and Funding Changes 2017/18 from 1st April 2017 small/medium employers will have to contribute 10% for each Apprenticeship. Funding is available for 90% of apprenticeship costs. Payments start from the 1st May 2017 for all SMEs.

Levy paying employers will have been informed that they are paying a levy and have an account. These employers will pay 90% towards an apprenticeship and funding is matched 10%.

The government website has really detailed fact sheets on how the system will work, how this can be paid and accessed, or you can contact DHA and speak to one of the Employer Engagement Officers  with any queries on what impact the new system will have to your company and to learners on future qualifications.
We are also eagerly awaiting Skills for Care announcement in May about the Workforce Development Fund for 2017/18.

National Great British Care Award – Home Care Worker of the year 2017

We send our congratulations and a big well done from the whole team to Mini Patel, who this week has won National Great British Care Award – Home Care Worker of the year 2017.

Mini works for Choice Care Blackburn and is currently undertaking his Level 5 Higher apprenticeship with DHA.

Minni Patel

National Awareness 2017

With April being National Stress Awareness Month, Skills for Care and other health care providers have joined forces to build up understanding of the topic and put strategies in place to reduce the risks factors to identify stress, as well as the importance of reducing own stress and to raise awareness of the benefits of work life balance.  We have added new resources to the well being section within Edmodo DHA learner folders with links to services and facilities.
In May the Alzheimer’s Society is asking everyone to unite against dementia.

Dementia is set to be 21st century’s biggest killer, but awareness and understanding of the condition is still low and families often are unaware of the affects. A new TV advert is also coming out soon.


National Apprenticeship Week 2017

It is the 10th anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week and events are taking place across the country 6th – 13th March.

The week will highlight the success of apprenticeships over the last decade, celebrating the positive impact on individuals, businesses and the economy. This year’s theme is “ the ladder of opportunity”, emphasising the importance of progression through the qualification levels from Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships.




Learner of the Year 2016/17 – Richard McFarlane

Richard works for Wirral Autism Together and was apprehensive about starting an apprenticeship. Richard has shown a real drive to achieve his qualifications and is extremely proud of his achievement. This is his story.

“In 2012 I had a stroke, which left me partially sighted along with other cognitive problems, a few months after starting work as a support worker for Autism Together, thankfully they kept my job open for me after nearly a year off sick, as I would not have been able to return to my previous career as a taxi driver and lorry driver which I did for over 30 years.

I was given the opportunity to do the Advanced Apprenticeship in Social Care. At the age of 52 I was a bit unsure if I wanted to do it or if I was capable of learning, but I surprised myself, I found it challenging but interesting.

I received excellent support from my assessor Carrie Butters who was very patient and took the time to answer any questions, especially with the Maths and English. Carrie was an organised and excellent mentor.

Completing the apprenticeship has given me confidence to do my job and made me think about my role as a support worker and the decisions I make when supporting service users”

Learner of the year

Apprenticeship Employer of the Year 2016/17 (Large Organisations) – Leonard Cheshire Oakwood

Corrine Waters and her senior team have shown outstanding commitment in supporting their staff undertaking apprenticeships at intermediate, advanced and higher levels. The work environment is challenging as it is a specialist service supporting individuals with an acquired brain injury. They purchased resources to support learning and provided support to individuals to enable them to complete work set, which has kept learners on target hence the dedication to completing their qualifications. Some of the support team have progressed and been promoted to a Senior role as they have developed more skills and Knowledge with in their role taking on more responsibility.

They have supported the assessors when in the building and made sure each learner attends their agreed appointment. They have excellent communication with all parties involved ie learner, seniors, assessor and management. Corrine has always been dedicated in enabling staff to learn and develop as it is essential for them to have the confidence and ability to support the clients.

Large Employer of the year

Apprenticeship Employer of the Year 2016/17 (SME) – Choice Care

Choice Care is domiciliary company based in Blackburn that provides support with aspects of daily living for individuals living in the surrounding area. Choice Care has achieved the award of SME Employer of the Year 2017 due to the Manager’s and company`s commitment to training and development of the staff team.

There is an expectation amongst all staff that they undertake and achieve their intermediate apprenticeship in Social Care. The company ensures that staff are supported to attend all necessary appointments and rotas are managed effectively around this. The Manager is closely involved in the progression and achievement of staff and on a daily basis communicates with the assessor on the progress of learners. Any problems are dealt with effectively and instantly—resulting in no loss of time or support for the learners.

All staff are encouraged and supported to progress further in their learning and many have progressed onto the advanced apprenticeship, with some being promoted and undertaking the higher apprenticeship.

Choice Care believes in supporting their staff in developing and recognising the efforts that are put in. They hold an annual Awards Evening at the local football ground, with a 3 course meal and entertainment provided as a thank you to the hard work, commitment and quality care that is provided. Awards are given related to the quality of care provided, feedback received from individuals, and the passion shown within their role. A member of staff is chosen as “Carer of the Year” and automatically entered into the national competition

SME Employer of the year

Skills for Care Endorsement

In our continual strive to be the “best” we are delighted to say that we have been endorsed by Skills for Care.

August 2017


Introducing Edmodo

Edmodo is our “Virtual Learning Environment”, it has been designed to help learners complete their qualifications, whilst gaining new skills using ICT. Our bespoke learning resources and links have been included to make the program interactive and engaging enabling learners to network with others who are also completing a qualification with DHA. Assessors will be helping learners to create an account, which they can access 24/7 helping them to learn at their own pace.

Our staff have already started to see the benefits to learners, but we need your help! The access to a wifi signal at times can be difficult, if you are able to, please help your staff wherever possible, for instance by providing them with the wifi code when they are with their assessor, this will help during the visit. Thank you in anticipation.


The Social Care Commitment – Have You Signed Up Yet?

The Social Care Commitment is the adult social care sector’s promise to provide people who need care and support with high quality services. You can learn more here.

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Team News

June saw a new member of staff join DHA. Jude Montgomery joins us as an assessor. Jude is a trained nurse, and has lots of experience in health and social having recently been working in Residential Care, specialising in End of Life Care and supporting students with Maths and English.

Although Jo Moorcroft’s new arrival is not an official team member, we are pleased to congratulate Jo on the safe arrival of her daughter – Madison born in June weighing a healthy 8lb, Congratulations to Jo and her family.

Summer Team Day 2016 – It’s A Knockout!

If you grew up in the 70`s you will remember this popular Saturday night TV programme. It involved teams competing in activities that meant dressing up, getting wet, falling over and having fun.

Being a go getting and can do team DH Associates fielded a team of 5 willing volunteers at the Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation event for training providers; Tracy Bradley (Brad Example), Tom (Tominator), Max (Maximum Damage), Kellie (Kamikaze Kellie) and Michelle (Bombshell).

The event became our annual team day with the rest of the team as cheerleaders.

There were 18 teams at the warm up, who looked fitter, healthier and younger than us. Their average age was 24 compared to our 45.Luckily there were some activities that involved brains as well as brawn which gave DHA an unwitting advantage to our vintage team. It was a great achievement to only miss out on a place in the final by coming fifth. We had a great day cheering on our team and enjoying the rare sunshine.

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