"It’s led to my dream job thanks to the Skills for Growth programme."

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A housekeeper has landed his dream job in the NHS as a health care assistant thanks to a fully-funded programme designed to open up new opportunities to workers across Greater Manchester.

Libin Thomas, 33, moved to Manchester from the United Arab Emirates in order to be with his family.

Though qualified in accountancy, Libin struggled to find employment and started his life in England working in a petrol station before taking up a role as a housekeeper at a private care home in Middleton.

During his time in this role, Libin witnessed professional health care assistants diligently provide valuable and skilled care for residents, so when his employer offered him the opportunity to access free healthcare training through Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Skills for Growth programme, Libin jumped at the chance.

Libin undertook modules in Dementia, infection control, safeguarding, mental health and wellbeing and more, giving him the essential skills and knowledge he needed to apply for and pursue an exciting and challenging new career as a professional health care assistant.

It also prepared him for the interview process, teaching him to reflect on his previous care home experience and to apply it when responding to interview questions.

Libin said: “It led to my dream job! I’m so grateful for the free training opportunity I found on the Skills for Growth programme.

“I only had a basic background working as a housekeeper in care homes, so the training certainly gave me the depth of knowledge and essential skills needed to move into a professional health care role.

“The Skills for Growth programme gave me the opportunity to access great training for free and really opened the door to a whole new career. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for new opportunities. Without it, it would have been difficult for me to get a job as a professional health care assistant.

“The programme is flexible and easy to access meaning I was able to fit learning around the shifts I was working as a housekeeper.”

The training Libin received was delivered by Acorn Training through Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s three-year Skills for Growth programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund.

The programme is designed to fill skills gaps identified by employers across priority industries in Greater Manchester and aims to make career opportunities better accessible to priority groups including ethnic minorities, women in employment and low-paid workers..

Libin completed modules in dementia, pressure care, infection control as well as safeguarding mental health and wellbeing. Libin now works on a female medical ward in North Manchester General Hospital. His role includes taking care of patients, serving meals, performing blood checks and supporting nursing staff.

Susan Arthur, Partnership Manager at Acorn Training, said:

"Acorn Training are proud to be leading a partnership of providers to deliver the Health & Social Care programme for Skills for Growth in Greater Manchester.

“The programme gives people the opportunity to access fully funded training enabling them to upskill and develop the skills and knowledge to better support and grow within their careers. We offer with our partners a wide range of tailored training to suit the needs of both learners and employers, with flexible delivery to fit around employment.

“Libin is an excellent example of what can be achieved, and we hope to reach more individuals across Greater Manchester."

Ambia Begum, Health and Social Care Tutor at Rochdale Training said:

“Training is available for residents working in Health and Social Care in the Greater Manchester and is of real value to employees and employers.

“There is a skills gap for employees in the Health and Social Care Sector nationwide not just in this region, and training would usually cost an employer a considerable amount of money. The funding therefore helps to fill this skills gap, upskilling the workforce in the sector and enabling employees to progress their careers”

To see what training opportunities are available in different sectors across Greater Manchester, head to our ‘live training programmes page.