Tara Duncan’s Swanton career looks set to go from strength to strength after she aced her apprenticeship in Leadership and Management.

Tara stepped up to the role of Deputy Manager at Swanton Supported Living Sunderland just as she began her NVQ level 5 apprenticeship two years ago.

She successfully juggled the demands of working full-time in the service and doing her diploma, thanks to support from her managers and assessor.

Now Tara is looking to the future with the confidence to believe that anything is possible.

Tara said: “I’ve worked in care for 13 years, and I’d never got any qualifications until I joined Swanton.

“They encouraged me to do my NVQ level 3 first, then gave me the opportunity to go to uni to do a Positive Behaviour Support course.

“My level 5 apprenticeship began just as I’d stepped up as a Deputy Manager, which was daunting to start.

“I wouldn’t have been able to make it work if it hadn’t been for my managers Faye and Stuart, who were so supportive, and my assessor Gail who gave me the flexibility I needed.”

As an integral part of the service, Tara often had to change her plans at the last minute if people supported at SSL Sunderland needed her.

Six months ago, Tara moved over to Swanton’s Eastholme service to take over the Deputy Manager role there to help Manager Stuart.

To help her during her apprenticeship, both Faye and Stu stepped in to cover where they could, and Gail allowed her to have appointments before work and in the evenings.

Using the skills and knowledge she’s gained from her apprenticeship, Tara has been able to navigate complex situations at the service.

She’s now excited about what the future has in store, especially as she contemplates a potential move to Service Manager at some point.

Tara said: “It’s been worth all the hard work, so I would encourage anyone thinking about it to go for it.

“It’s amazing to think what you can achieve when you have excellent support.

“You might not think you’ve got what it takes, but you might surprise yourself – I did!”