Please note, due to the Coronavirus situation, this programme is currently on hold. We hope to have it up and running once this is possible.

Neuroscience student Sarah Wolffe was keen to gain practical experience supporting people with brain injuries or dementia when she applied for a role at SweetTree.

But her application was initially turned down because SweetTree was looking for support workers with care experience.
Tracey Jones, who was promoted to head up SweetTree’s Training Academy last year, explained: “We were missing an opportunity, we were getting really high calibre people coming for interviews who couldn’t take their first step in health and social care because they didn’t have the minimum six months care experience we required.”

Tracey was instrumental in developing the Aspire Training Programme, designed for people with the passion and motivation to work in care to learn the skills, values and high standards needed to join the SweetTree team.
Sarah Wolffe was invited to join the programme and jumped at the opportunity. She explained:
“It was very good at giving me a practical understanding, such as moving and handling another person and using hoists – I wouldn’t have known where to start.

“I learned about safely monitoring and administering medication, which is a vital part of the job, and about personal care. This requires you to be very professional, to maintain the client’s dignity and independence and ensure they maintain a sense of control, it highlighted the emotional and psychological aspects.
“For me, the shadow shifts were the most important part of preparing me for the job. I would have been much less confident without the opportunity to learn from experienced care workers, asking them lots of questions and having the chance to work with their clients with the safety net of them being there.

“SweetTree is very supportive of you, their care is also directed at you. They have a very positive and constructive approach, they look at themselves and ask if they have given you what you needed to succeed.”
Chiho Ng also completed the Aspire training programme. She explained:

“I had been thinking about becoming a carer since I looked after my grandmother.

“In my previous job, I was serving local elderly customers and realised that a little assistance and kindness could change their life, so I decided to learn more about social care.

“After the ASPIRE training, I was willing to learn more and motivated to develop my skills. I believe that will bring quality care for clients and Sweet Tree. I strongly recommend SweetTree, because you work with people who have a passion for their job.”

Accredited care training
The Aspire programme was launched in 2017 and revised by Tracey at the start of 2020 reflecting feedback from the initial participants. The intensive and highly interactive two-day programme aims to equip those with little or no experience of care with the vital knowledge, understanding and practical skills to progress to SweetTree’s induction programme within its AIMS accredited, in-house training academy.

Participants then undertake a minimum of 50 hours of shadow shifts to learn from experienced carers and complete competency assessments before being matched with clients of their own.

Tracey said: “We’ve had positive feedback about the programme from delegates and their colleagues.” New employees may be assigned to one of SweetTree’s specialist services such as brain injury or learning disability services, receiving additional training to develop the specialist skills needed.

Although all training during the coronavirus lockdown has been delivered remotely, SweetTree will restore classroom-based sessions as part of its blended learning approach, allowing new carers to build relationships with each other and with SweetTree’s management team.

After completing the ASPIRE programme successfully, SweetTree carers can progress to complete their Care Certificate and Health & Social Care Apprenticeship programmes Level 2 and 3.
Tracey stresses that there are continuing opportunities for training and development, including to move to different specialist services within SweetTree.

For more information about the Aspire programme, contact Recruitment Manager Clare Chapman,

The Aspire training programme covers:
• The SweetTree Charter and Mission Statement
• Best practice in personal care
• The 6c’s underpinning health and social care: care, commitment, compassion, competence, courage and communication
• Practical aspects of personal care including safe handling, washing, dressing, administering medication
• Dignity, respect, choice and independence in person-centred care
• Safeguarding
• Risk assessment
• Effective communication & report writing
• Introduction to the Mental Capacity Act

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