Hannah Holford started working at BaptistCare Carey Gardens when she was 16 and has been named the winner of the ACT Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year for 2021!
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Now 18, Hannah Holford started working at BaptistCare Carey Gardens when she was 16 and in year 11, as a Care Services Employee as part of an apprenticeship earning her Certificate III in Individual Support through a partnership with Australian Training Company, her high school and BaptistCare.
Recently Hannah has been named the winner of the ACT Training Award for the ACT Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year for 2021!
“I am so privileged to receive this award, and I was so excited at the opportunity. But I am more thrilled about how this award reflects on my trainers, workplace and school. I am so grateful for their investment into my training, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Hannah.
Residential Manager Jill Dexter said they couldn’t be more proud of Hannah.
“We are blessed to have Hannah, and we are very proud of her. She is a remarkable young lady. Residents adore her,” Jill said.
Hannah says that getting to know the residents and sharing their lives has been an absolute delight for her.
“I love finding time just to sit and have a chat with my residents. Whether it’s a walk in the gardens or a nice cup of tea, I love making those connections and sharing our day. The more you know your resident, the better care you can provide for them,” Hannah said.
Hannah first stumbled upon the apprenticeship opportunity through school, saying that at first she didn’t know there were apprenticeships available that were outside trades.
“When I first heard about school apprenticeships, I thought they were only in trades such as being an electrician or carpenter. I was thrilled when I found that options such as aged care or disability care were also available. I have had such a strong love for elderly individuals since Year nine, which is when I began volunteering.
“The Australian training company suggested I complete a week of work experience so that I would gain more understanding of the certificate. That week at Carey Gardens, the employees shared so much knowledge and information with me. I saw such high-quality care given to each resident, and I wanted to be a part of a team that offered that. I also formed friendships with so many of the residents and I knew that an apprenticeship in Individual Support was the pathway for me,” said Hannah.
Hannah is still working part-time now that her apprenticeship has ended, and hopes to continue working alongside studying at university.
“I’ve been working part time at Carey Gardens since my apprenticeship ended. I am hoping to continue working during my time at university and come back as a nurse or occupational therapist. Aged care has a special place in my heart, and I definitely see myself still involved in the future.”
When we asked Hannah what she would say to someone considering a career in aged care, her praise of the sector for the benefits for younger people in terms of what they can learn from senior Australians was effusive.
“I would say go for it! It was one of the best decisions I ever made. It is the most rewarding job being able to provide care and promote the dignity of these incredible individuals. The relationships formed between the residents, their family members, and other carers are so beautiful. Making the last stretch of their life a little easier, a little more comfortable, to offer a smile, a hug or share a laugh when it’s needed – it is such an important job.
“I would love to see more youth in aged care; there shouldn’t be such a divide due to age. There are so many opportunities to get involved, and I think the younger people bring a unique energy and connect so well with the residents. I think it’s so beautiful that the people just ‘starting out’ in life can have that relationship with those who have lived incredibly full lives,” said Hannah.
When the conversation moves to what Hannah has learnt in her time with BaptistCare, Hannah reflects on how she feels since she started at BaptistCare. She has learned that a little goes a long way.
“Whether it be a card or homemade cookie, it can completely change someone’s day or week. Coming in on special holidays to just sit with a few residents – even if you don’t always know what to say – it means the world to them. I’ve seen residents still read cards that I gave them a year ago. In return, I’ve received so many beautiful cards from residents or their family members that I will always treasure,” explains Hannah.
Carey Gardens Residential Manager Jill told us that residents adore Hannah, and the feeling certainly is mutual. When asked how she feels about the residents, Hannah’s love and care for them shine through in her response.
“They are an absolute joy to my life. I have met so many amazing people over the course of my apprenticeship. Their life stories and accomplishments inspire me in my own approach to life. I have witnessed the highs and lows of ageing, and it has given me such a new perspective on life. I have learned invaluable life lessons, especially about treasuring your time with close family and friends. I think their generation had so much resilience, and I see that in them throughout this pandemic. The residents are the heart and soul of aged care,” says Hannah.
Congratulations Hannah on being named as the Apprentice of the Year for 2021 – this wonderful achievement is well-deserved!