Meet our new business administration apprentice

Whitney, 24, is the newest apprentice to join our Training Now team, working towards her level 3 business administration apprenticeship.

As well as providing social care, education and business apprenticeships to employers across the country, we welcome our own apprentices, working in our head office on the Isle of Portland.

Two months into her placement as a course administrator, we caught up with Whitney to find out more about her journey and how she is finding her business administration apprenticeship.

Meet our newest apprentice

Whitney spent an impressive seven years working in retail for the same company. During this time, she attended college and later completed a Level 2 Retailer apprenticeship.

But working in retail was never Whitney’s dream career and she was eager to find a more structured work environment with avenues for progression.

As is common for many, upon leaving school Whitney struggled to find ways of gaining the experience she needed to find employment. She explains,

“I applied for admin jobs but I just didn’t have the experience. So I thought, why not gain the experience while doing it. That’s the good thing about an apprenticeship.”

Thanks to her friend and our Enrolment and Compliance Officer Andrea, Whitney found an opportunity with Training Now.

With an apprenticeship, Whitney can gain the skills she needs to progress her career and earn while she learns. Through a combination of on and off the job learning, Whitney is working towards the all-important qualification she needs.

“My apprenticeship means I can be earning while gaining more knowledge and experience. For me, the most important thing is that it allows me to gain a qualification and helps me develop my career.”

Level 3 Business Administrator Apprenticeship

As a Course Administrator, Whitney supports the learning and development team in making sure that Training Now’s professional development courses run smoothly. It is her responsibility to book and make sure that people can access their SAT training.

Whitney has made a great start already and has recently taken on the additional responsibility of administering the claims for the Workforce Development Fund.

Managing Director for Training Now, Tara Roudiani, added:

“Whitney is already displaying the level of customer service expected by us in Training Now. She can troubleshoot and field phone calls from our candidates when they are struggling to access their training courses or their assessments and has a real eagerness to learn. She is a valuable and valued member of our team.”

With on the job learning, Whitney is gaining practical experience in course administration; enabling her to not only learn, but to build confidence in her new found knowledge and skills.

This was particularly true last month when Whitney visited the Agincare Weymouth Home Care office to invigilate a functional skills exam.

“My business administration apprenticeship helps me gain the experience I need while doing it. It helps me to learn through actually doing it rather than just reading or sitting in a classroom. Having done a course on the rules and then getting to invigilate an exam, I am so much more confident.”

Support services for apprentices

All of our apprentices are supported by a Teaching and Learning Coach and also benefit from our range of additional support services.

This includes careers advice and guidance with a specialist careers advisor. During these sessions, apprentices can seek help exploring their options for the future, updating their CV or building their interview skills.

Whitney is supported through her apprenticeship by Teaching and Learning Coach Klaudia who provides guidance, mentoring and training.

When talking to Whitney, she stressed the value in having a supportive team around her.

“What’s special about Training Now is that they are so supportive. My Teaching and Learning Coach is always available to listen or help me and I know how to access additional support if I need it. Everyone is always there to answer questions I have and to help me learn.”

Whitney is also supported by Training Now’s previous business administration apprentice, Katie, who continues to work within the team; offering her insight into her End Point Assessment and what to expect throughout her apprenticeship.

Unlocking your career potential

Already, Whitney has settled into the team, and to her role. What’s more, she shares a genuine passion for supporting others to receive the learning they need to realise their career potential.

However, for the newest apprentice, there is another factor that makes working at Training Now so rewarding.

Training Now primarily delivers social care apprenticeships and short courses to care staff working for Agincare; one of the UK’s largest care providers. This, Whitney explains, makes her work all the more gratifying.

“My job is so rewarding. I get to help people to care for people. I help give them the training to do that.”

For Whitney, her business administration apprenticeship is helping her to escape the dilemma faced by many leaving school and looking for a career. She is gaining the qualifications needed to open new doors for the future.

While her exact path remains unclear, Whitney stressed how her apprenticeship was a means of opening up new doors for the future.

“Apprenticeships are a stepping stone into more options. I want to work my way up in administration and take opportunities that gaining my qualification will open up for me.”

Drawing our conversation to an end, we asked Whitney what advice she would give to anyone considering an apprenticeship with Training Now. Her advice:

“Go for it. It’s a big step towards your long term goal and everyone is so supportive and helpful.”


Training Now welcomes Tara Roudiani as Managing Director

At the start of December, Training Now welcomed Tara Roudiani to the Managing Director’s chair.

Tara brings with her over 24 years of experience in teaching and learning, beginning her career in education at the age of 26 as a support worker for a deaf learner at Bournemouth Arts University.

Since then she has worked her way through the ranks, achieving her teaching qualification and going on to receive a degree from Southampton University in Post-Compulsory Education and Training.

Tara joins the Training Now team from her previous role as Quality Manager and Deputy Head of Service at Lambeth Council where she was responsible for all aspects of quality across the provision. She was also responsible for curriculum development and commissioned specific courses and providers to meet the needs of Lambeth residents.

Who is Tara?

Her shift to Training Now however, marks a return to her true passion for apprenticeships and the positive impacts they have on career and personal development. Tara explains,

“Training Now is an incredible opportunity for me to get back to apprenticeships which is something I really believe in. I have enormous respect for anyone who is working and learning; I gained my degree while I was working full-time with a 3-year old at my feet.”

Tara and her husband Alex met while teaching at Bournemouth and Poole College. Coincidently, Tara’s parents also met this way. Together they have a 15-year-old daughter, Maya, and two dogs; Marvellous Marvis, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Piglet, a French Bulldog.

Born in Iran, Tara and her family moved to England at the start of the Iranian Revolution when she was only 6 years old. At the time, she could speak very little English.

“I was only 6 and when learning to speak I just heard and absorbed Farsi. I remember my mother telling me that although I knew a few words in English, I was stubborn and refused to speak it or answer people who spoke to me in English. When I came over here, they sent me to boarding school in the New Forest and they soon taught me to speak it.”

Farsi is Tara’s first language and her late introduction to English recently inspired her interesting fact for FE Week’s 373 edition of Movers and Shakers.

The future of Training Now

Taking the helm as the Managing Director of Training Now, Tara’s experience and passion for teaching and learning promises to steer the company to further successes; reaching out to new employers and delivering innovative and bespoke training.

“Training Now will be employers’ first choice for apprenticeship training because they are clamouring to be trained by such an effective team who routinely deliver the best learning experience for apprentices.”

We wish Tara a warm welcome to Training Now, and to the Agincare Group. Scott Jones, Operations Director for Training Now adds,

“We are excited to welcome Tara to our team who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge within the sector. We are already seeing the many benefits and valued changes Tara has to offer.”

Training Now

Training Now specialises in delivering practical social care, education and business apprenticeships as well as bespoke short courses and professional qualifications nationwide.

The team of qualified professionals are on-hand to support learners and employers by delivering a package of training bespoke to individual or employer needs.

This also includes access to a range of support services designed to help learners get the most out of their qualifications and discover their career goals.

Whether you are an employer looking into staff training, or are thinking about doing an apprenticeship, discover how Training Now can help you.


Our new functional skills tutoring for apprentices

Training Now has launched a new program of functional skills tutoring sessions for apprentices.

If you are currently doing an apprenticeship with Training Now and need support studying for your functional skills qualification in Mathematics, you can join our free, face-to-face sessions. The online video call meetings take place every Tuesday and Friday between 6 and 8pm.

It is a requirement of an apprenticeship that apprentices have or gain a level 2 (GCSE equivalent) qualification in English and Mathematics. British Sign Language qualifications are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

Apprentices without the required qualification need to achieve this level prior to completion of their Apprenticeship. They are supported by their allocated Teaching and Learning Coach.

Although all apprentices receive mentoring sessions with their Teaching and Learning Coach at least once a month, Training Now is committed to opening pathways for individuals to seek further assistance with their studies.

The three-month trial of functional skills tutoring is part of that commitment. It offers an opportunity for those currently studying for their Level 2 Maths qualification to receive additional tuition alongside their normal mentoring and online learning.

Director of Training Now, Scott Jones explains:

“We are trialing Maths tutoring as this has been identified as a key point of failure for apprentices. By providing that additional face-to-face support, we are giving apprentices a chance to talk through areas they find challenging in a way they are unable to do on the e-learning platform.”

Apprentices complete the qualification through Skills Forward, an e-portfolio system which enables a greater autonomy over how and when the individual learns compared to traditional, classroom-based teaching.

While the virtual learning enables apprentices to work their studies around other commitments, Training Now acknowledges the importance of providing a range of support services to assist them in gaining their qualifications.

Delivery Manager, Jo-anne Mackay added:

“Everyone learns differently and, by setting up these sessions, we are giving our apprentices a choice in how they learn. The tutoring is not there to replace the e-learning platform, but it gives apprentices a chance to ask questions, and engage in discussion about their learning.”

A month into the service, the functional skills sessions have a 100% pass rate and continue to welcome apprentices weekly. With this success, Training Now is looking at further increasing the support services it provides.

Functional skills tutoring in level 2 English and ICT are set to accompany the current Maths sessions and careers advice service for apprentices in the coming months.

To find out more, or to join the free functional skills tutoring sessions, contact your Teaching and Learning Coach or call: 01305 897655


Staff training: How Training Now supported Agincare’s new international recruitment initiative

Last month, Training Now supported Agincare International by providing a bespoke two-week staff training program to five new employees from India.

Shortly before their arrival in October, Agincare International, the global recruitment arm of Agincare, approached Training Now for a combination of mandatory and tailored courses to their new job role within Agincare.

Tailored program of staff training

Within two weeks, Training Now, which is situated close to the Agincare head office on Portland, put together a tailored program of courses which combined the wishes of Agincare International directors and their own expertise in delivering high quality staff training.

At the start of their training, each international employee received a training programme relating to the courses they were undertaking and a reflective diary. Jo-Anne Mackay, Delivery Manager for Training Now explained-

“We gave them a pack containing the training program they would be undertaking and a reflective journal for them to fill out each day. It is important that people reflect back on learning.”

Over their two-week training period, the five new employees completed a three-day mandatory induction training which meets the requirements of the care certificate standards. They were given training specific to their new roles including end-of-life training, person-centred dementia care and moving and handling.

On the first day we focus on life in Britain and the new cultures that the employees will be facing in their daily lives.

Jincy, who was an Intensive Care nurse in India, said:

“My favourite was the moving and handling training. It was really fun and engaging.”

They also completed their First Aid training and were presented with their Level 3 certificates on the final day.

In addition to classroom based learning, they also visited Crecy Care Home in Weymouth. This afforded them a unique opportunity to become familiar with the care setting they would be going into at the start of November.

Bespoke Staff Training for your Business

To suit the unique requirements of Agincare International, it was important to adapt the way training was delivered. Jo-Anne explains;

“As this was their first time in the UK, we wanted to ensure they had one consistent trainer. We had to rejig the schedule to suit this but it was important. Consistency helped them to relax and enjoy the training.”

Training Now values the importance of consistency and comfortability in learning. Whether it is a short course or an apprenticeship, staff training is a pathway towards achieving career goals. That pathway should be both enjoyable, and a positive memory that they can reflect on when in the work environment.

For the full two weeks of training, the new employees were accompanied by Trainer, Mandy who took on the role of teacher and mentor.

Reeja, who comes from Thiruvalla in India, said:

“Mandy is a wonderful teacher. She has given us hope and a good time.”

By ensuring that the trainees were taught by Mandy whenever possible, they were able to relax and enjoy the experience; forming professional relationships in the process.

More than just training

By the end of the two weeks together, the employees, who had been unknown to each other less than a month before, had formed close bonds and shared memories.

Describing what the training had meant to her, Reeja added:

“It’s about the emotional bonding with training. We have all become close with Mandy too.”

On their final day in the classroom, the group of trainees expressed their gratitude to Mandy by presenting her with a thank you card.

The five employees have now begun their placements in care homes across the south of England and Agincare International hopes this will only be the start of their global recruitment initiative.

Why Training Now?

We offer a wide range of staff training courses tailored to your specific needs. We can:

  • Embed your own ways of working and policies into the course content, providing you with a bespoke staff training package.
  • Deliver our courses to suit you – from half a day to a full week, or as refresher training.
  • Provide staff training in your own venue, or at one of our 12 training venues across the country.
  • Deliver our courses as e-learning, distance study or in a training room.
  • Create bespoke courses and training programmes for you.

If you are seeking bespoke staff training for your employees, contact Training Now on: 01305 897655


Saira’s Care Worker Apprenticeship: A Success Story

Saira, 34, has recently completed her Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship (level 3) with Agincare.

Over the past two years, Saira has combined studying with a career as a Home Care Assistant as well as taking care of her three children at home.

Having now achieved her end point assessment, we caught up with Saira to find out more about her experience doing a Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship.

Stepping back into studies

Saira has worked at Agincare’s Woking home care branch for the past 7 years. In 2019, having spent time considering a means of progressing in her career, Saira approached her manager about doing a Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship.

“It was good because it was flexible. I have three kids so I can’t go to a college and study, especially during Covid. So I was able to study whilst at work. My Teaching and Learning Coach was always available to do phone calls and text when I needed extra help.”

Saira has three daughters aged 5, 10 and 14. As schools closed during the pandemic, the flexibility that the apprenticeship offered Saira meant she could continue her studies.

Lead Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship

Having chosen a course, Saira’s manager, Bev, put her in touch with training provider, Training Now.

Training Now is a nationwide training company specialising in social care, education and business apprenticeships. Although a separate business, it works closely with Agincare and all apprenticeships are provided by Agincare Group Ltd.

Apprenticeships usually last between 15 and 18 months, depending on contracted work hours. However, for Saira, the coronavirus pandemic would see her course go from face-to-face to virtual learning.

Doing an apprenticeship during the pandemic

Describing the affect that the coronavirus pandemic had on her Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship, Saira explains:

“They were so understanding and flexible with the apprenticeships. When I had a busy week they would give me less work to do that week, and I would do more when I have time. They really worked with me.”

Saira is thankful for the support and tailored learning afforded to her by Training Now and its team. Rather than being confined to a strict learning plan, the training could be adapted to accommodate for unexpected changes in routine or work.

Saira also described how her teaching and learning coaches helped to motivate and push her towards completing the Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship.

“I had a team of two teaching and learning coaches, Daniela and Gemma were both excellent.”

With the support of Training Now, Saira has been able to complete her Level 3 qualification regardless of the challenges faced during the pandemic.

The different methods of learning available, be it in branch, zoom, or phone meetings meant that Saira did not miss out on her education and has benefitted greatly from her apprenticeship.

What’s next for Saira?

Already Saira has seen the benefits of her studies. In June, four months before completing her Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship, Saira was promoted from Home Care Assistant to Care Coordinator. Woking branch manager, Bev White, said:

“Saira has benefitted greatly from the training she has completed, her confidence has grown and she has now successfully been promoted to care coordinator and is a valued member of the office team.”

That decision in 2019 to return to studies has proven to be rewarding, helped by the flexibility and support offered by Training Now. It has already seen Saira progress her career and feel confident in her new role. She added:

“The apprenticeship really helps. I remember things I learnt, like data protection, every time I’m at work.”

What’s more, Saira is considering another course and progressing further in her career.

“I have an appointment with Training Now for careers advice next week. I want to keep studying and progress. I’m thinking of doing level 4, then level 5.”

Training Now encourages all apprentices to book a session with a careers advisor. Whether they are looking to create a CV, or need advice on avenues of career progression, the careers advice service continues to support apprentices even after their course has ended.

When asked if she would consider continuing her education, Saira added:

“If I was to do any further training, I would definitely do it through Training Now.”

Entering an apprenticeship programme is a great way to earn while you learn and means you can put your skills, knowledge and experience into practice straightaway.

Or call us today on: 01305 897655


Tackling sexual harassment in the workplace

Research carried out in 2020 by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows sexual harassment is still a serious problem in some UK workplaces:

  • According to the CIPD four percent of employees said they had been sexually harassed at work over the past three years.
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to report they have experienced both bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of employees think that challenging issues like bullying and harassment are swept under the carpet in their organisation.

The Equality Act 2010 defines harassment as ‘unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’.

Sexual harassment can take place online as well as in person and is always unacceptable.

But the CIPD findings show that regulation alone is not enough to stamp out discriminatory attitudes and behaviour towards women in the workplace.

The report highlights how every employee – particularly team leaders and line managers – needs to play their part in promoting dignity and respect at work.

As well as reading the full report on the CIPD website you can find further resources, including advice from Citizens Advice on what to do if you are being harassed at work.

There is also a link to CIPD research on managing conflict in the workplace.

We should all be prepared to challenge inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour.

If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual harassment please contact a member of the Training Now safeguarding team for support and advice.


On/off-the-job training explained!

At Training Now we have changed the name of ‘off-the-job training’ to ‘on-the-job training’. We want to make it clearer for everyone what this really is and means. You may also hear it called ‘OTJ’ for short.

An apprenticeship is a job with a formal programme of training. An apprenticeship is a work-based programme. The training is required to help the apprentice become fully occupationally competent in the workplace.

So it is reasonable that the apprenticeship should be delivered during an apprentice’s normal working hours.

Each month your TALC (Teaching & Learning Coach) will plan your OTJ for the month with your line manager at your monthly review. Working this way the OTJ is agreed and your manager can make sure that the service is covered should you need to attend a training or teaching session.

Many tasks in your role can be counted as ‘OTJ’. Your TALC will be able to advise you if a planned activity will be counting as your OTJ.

Read more about on-the-job training.


“I feel I’ve learnt so much”

We caught up with Liliana Macieira who shared her apprenticeship experience with us – thank you Liliana!

“I have worked in the care industry for over seven years. I am passionate about care and have been lucky enough to learn new skills and knowledge as part of my career progression.

“Training Now has enabled me to achieve my Level 5 diploma and complete my apprenticeship.

“I feel so much more confident in my career after this experience. I would like to express my gratitude to both Laura Lawson and my TALC and mentor, Gina Haines. Both have been an amazing support in my journey.

“Despite challenging times with Covid-19, over the last 16 months, Laura and Gina supported me to progress myself on both a professional and personal level, encouraged me to continue working towards my goals and enabled me to build my confidence in my job role.

“I feel I’ve learnt so much and can’t thank the team at Training Now enough.”


The sky’s the limit! Hearing from two of our apprentices

We love catching up with our apprentices, hearing how they’re getting on, and making sure they know about all the support we can offer them…

We caught up with Adela Sandu who spoke to us about her experience on the apprenticeship programme.

‘I am working hard to finish my Level 2. This apprenticeship with Training Now has been really good for me, because it has taught me so many things about dementia. Not only that, it has really helped me with my professional career and also in my private life. I want to thank Jo-Anne Mackay, my Teaching & Learning Coach, for all the support.’ 

We asked Adela what her goals for the future were… 

‘First I want to finish the Level 2 I am on currently so that I can start the Level 3, and who knows, Level 4? When I think of my career I always say, “Sky is the limit.”

For those who have already started the apprenticeship, I can tell them to keep going it is really helpful in your job. 

For those who haven’t decided yet, start your apprenticeship today, don’t wait too long – it is really important to know and be prepared in any of the situations that may occur at work.’ 

Thank you, Adela, and good luck, with the rest of your apprenticeship!

Helping improve your communication skills

We also caught up with John Rampton-Walker, who is currently undertaking his level 2 Adult Care Worker apprenticeship with Training Now and works at Falcon Court extra care scheme in Bristol.

John said that he is enjoying his apprenticeship and that one of the things it has helped him to improve is his communication skills.

John’s long-term goal is to become a nurse and then a midwife. We reminded John that he can book a careers advice session with Luke Hall at any time to discuss his future goals further.


Need careers advice? We’re here to help.

We’re encouraging all our apprentices to book a session with our careers adviser, Andrea Sanchez.

Whether you’re starting from scratch with your CV or could just do with a few pointers on your interview technique, Andrea is here to help you. You’ll benefit from Andrea’s extensive careers advice experience and his friendly, supportive approach.

It’s all part of the service

Our careers advice support is an integral part of what Training Now offers you as an apprentice – it’s embedded in our service, it’s not an add-on that you have to pay extra for.

An initial phone call with Andrea generally lasts an hour. The session covers a skills check and a discussion about your career aspirations, likes and dislikes, plus your strengths and where you feel you could do with some extra support.

Let’s hear from Andrea…

Supporting people and seeing them find their feet, gain self-belief and flourish gives me a real boost. Everyone has skills and positive attributes, but sometimes they lack confidence and need a helping hand to be the best they can be.

Impartial advice on courses

I can help you research a course or other training to move you forwards in your career.

Sometimes a discussion can open up unexpected career opportunities for an apprentice. Many skills are transferable to a variety of sectors, it’s often more a case of being open to ideas and suggestions. Talking through options and possibilities can lead to new and exciting plans.

I will always give unbiased and objective advice on courses, qualifications and universities. I’ll set out options for you, helping you come to a conclusion, but leaving you to ultimately make the decision yourself.

Help with your personal statement

If you’re thinking of applying to university, your personal statement is a really important part of the application process. It will set out your experience and qualifications, your background, what you want to achieve and your UCAS points. You need to get it right – I can help you hone your statement to be the best reflection of you.

Helping you write a successful CV

Starting from a blank sheet of paper to create a CV can be daunting – I have years of experience with CV-writing and know how best to present yourself on paper.

I won’t write your CV for you – it has to be your CV, but I can coach you through the process, and help you create a CV that stands out from the crowd.

If you’ve already got a CV I can give you constructive feedback on where and how you can make it even stronger, so that it gives you a better chance of getting an interview.

Building your confidence in your interview skills

Of course, having a top-notch CV is only the start. You need to be able to come across well in an interview – something that many apprentices find daunting.

But I truly believe that interview skills can be learned. A little bit of coaching and some practice in useful techniques can go a long way.

It always gives me great pleasure to work with people who start with zero confidence in their abilities and go on to build belief in what they can achieve.