When Rosie Allison joined Derbyshire’s Derwent Rural Counselling Services as an apprentice, little did she imagine that she would be recruiting apprentices herself just a few years later.
Derwent Rural Counselling Services provides counselling services across Derbyshire and the Peak District, which now has several offices at locations including Chesterfield, Alfreton and Bakewell. The trust works with individuals suffering from common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and long term conditions.
The charitable trust has truly embraced its apprenticeship programme since it recruited Rosie five years ago, and it’s that dedication to the programme that has earned it the title of Learning Unlimited’s Employer of the Month for November.
Receiving the award, Chief Executive Officer, Janette Smeeton, said: “We’re delighted to be recognised as Employer of the Month. Recruiting people with the right skills had been proving difficult for us in the past but our apprentices have really become a big part of our team.”
“With apprenticeships, we have been able to help new staff grow, learn new skills and gain valuable experience. They’ve each become valuable members of our team and we want to see them take on extra responsibility as time goes on.”
Rosie’s rise through the ranks demonstrates just that, as within five years she has gone from Apprentice to Deputy Operations Manager. Rosie now manages the office and is helping others to follow in her footsteps.
She explained: “When I was welcomed to Derwent Rural Counselling Service five years ago as an apprentice, I did not realise I would have had as much help, support and encouragement to be where I am, doing what I’m doing today. My apprenticeship helped me with the knowledge and skill set I needed to progress and support the organisation.”
“I hope I’m able to continue that level of support for others, and mentor the newer apprentices well and encourage them to grow. It is great to see them become more confident in the workplace and develop. The organisation has grown and achieved so much over the past five years and I’m so pleased I have been a part of it.”
Chloe Milner, 22, joined the team three years ago as a Business Apprentice and now after completing her apprenticeship has progressed to Data Protection Practitioner with the team. Meanwhile, the organisation’s most recent Business Administration Assistant, Ruby Russell, 28, has just celebrated her first anniversary with the organisation. “I’m really enjoying it here,” she said. “It’s a varied and interesting role and I very much feel part of the team. It’s got a lovely atmosphere.”
David Higham, Commercial Director at Chesterfield-based Learning Unlimited, presented the award and said: “It is clear that Derwent Rural Counselling Services have a real commitment to their apprenticeship programme. They are a good example of why apprenticeships work so well. Organisations that succeed are those that grow their own talent and ensure that their businesses are in safe hands for the future.”