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College tutor inspires two generations of apprentices

Posted: March 19, 2024

Avril Smith (62) enrolled on the Level 5 Leader in Adult Care apprenticeship at North Lindsey College after being inspired by her own daughter’s success.

Having spent a short period in retirement after a successful career in a range of occupations, Avril soon found herself re-entering the workforce as a Senior Rehabilitation Officer with North Lincolnshire Council, based at Sir John Mason House in Winterton. Her position of employment involves supporting a wide range of people to regain their independence and return to their homes after a period of injury or illness.

Avril not only returned to work, but also re-engaged with learning and her education.  She is now following in her daughter’s footsteps by undertaking an apprenticeship to gain the qualifications to support her work and be equipped with the information to make choices for her future in Adult Social Care. Avril was also inspired to go back to education after seeing several of her colleagues complete the same apprenticeship, and their positive experiences inspired her to enrol on the same programme.

Avril said, “My daughter, who works for the community team, undertook the apprenticeship in 2022 and I witnessed first-hand the change in her confidence in her own abilities and the widening of her knowledge and ability to drive the success of our service. My daughter went on to be recognised in last year’s apprenticeship awards and you know what they say, anything she can do I can do. I was very proud to also be recognised in this year’s Apprenticeships awards too.

“I am an older learner, so I came to my first class at North Lindsey College with equal parts of trepidation and excitement. I believe the feedback from colleagues who had previously attended – particularly around the support that our tutor, Nicola provides – and the pride in achieving the apprenticeship that I saw in my colleagues spurred me on. Within a couple of classes I could see for myself that it would be a challenging time, with deadlines to meet alongside work commitments and challenges to my presupposition of Adult Care, but the inspirational way in which Nicola guides us through the apprenticeship, and the way she can present ideas or differing views, leads us to our lightbulb moments.”

Avril now aspires to gain promotion in the future and would very much like to be given the opportunity to become the Team Leader within her workplace, and implement the knowledge and skills gained from her apprenticeship through displaying positive behaviours and supporting the British values.

Nicola McDonagh (North Lindsey College’s Apprenticeship Curriculum Leader) said, “As an apprenticeship tutor, I feel extremely proud that I have inspired two generations; firstly motivating Alex to go beyond all her own expectations as a new leader in adult care and by seeing Alex’s amazing achievements this motivated her mother, Avril to enroll on the same apprenticeship the following year. To witness the learning ripple through families, seeing a shared journey of growth and development fills me with immense pride and I am honored to be a part of their educational journey and excited to continue empowering new social care leaders through apprenticeships.”