A conversartion with…Zara Hardwick, Legacy Graduate Personal Tutor

We deliver an outstanding teaching and learning experience to every learner, every time and we could not do this without our handpicked, values-driven and passionate colleagues, and to grow those numbers we are in the process of launching a revamped Graduate Personal Tutor programme. This programme is an opportunity for industry experts to join us, learn new skills, gain qualifications and embark on a new career.

To highlight the success of the pilot programme in 2021, we have had a conversation with Zara Hardwick, who is one of our legacy Graduate Personal Tutors, who is now a fully qualified, experienced and exceptional Personal Tutor who specialises in Adult Care to talk about her experience and journey with us.

Getting to know Zara

Zara is a highly experienced Health and Social Care professional, having over 15 years of experience in the industry working across numerous care homes as a Senior Care Worker. Zara was an exceptional candidate for the programme as alongside her professional competency, she holds her Level 2 Functional Skills and up to Level 3 in Health and Social Care.

Why did you consider the change of direction, what interested you?

“I wanted to become an assessor since I completed my own Level 3 qualification, so I discussed the possibility of becoming one with my trainer at the time, but unfortunately it was not a career option at the time due to not having any training or assessing qualifications. Then I saw Paragon Skills advertising for Graduate Personal Tutors, I thought I would need to have more management experience, but I was really interested in the qualification from doing my own, so I applied and was happy to have been accepted”.

Did you have any previous training experience?

“I did not have any formal training experience, but I had experience of training new colleagues who were joining us at the care home, I would guide and support them through their Care Certificate and during their initial induction process. I have experience being a mentor, and guiding people through their job role and sharing best practice but no formal academic training experience.”

What motivated you to become a Personal Tutor?

“I wanted to learn a new career and needed a new challenge. There was no longer anywhere for me to progress in my industry, and I have so much knowledge and experience that I wanted to pass on. It is such an important role working in care, I wanted to make sure that everyone has the required level of knowledge and understanding to do a great job.”

How did you find the change from being an industry expert to trainer the experts of tomorrow?

“It was an interesting transition, and not 100% what I expected to start with, going from the care industry into a corporate company was sometimes overwhelming but I felt very supported. I like the aspect of remote working and managing my own workload and diary because I am a very structured and organised person, but this way of working may not suit everyone if they prefer the face-to-face environment.”

Tell me about the 2021 pilot Graduate Personal Tutor programme, what did this entail?

“I completed my TAQA within my first six months on the programme, and I am now in the process of completing my AiET as I did not complete that at the time. Whilst being a Graduate Personal Tutor, I had a reduced caseload of learners, and was buddied up with another colleague for support and had an experienced and supported Operations Manager. I learnt how to use the systems, how to complete reviews and learnt what a good job looks like to provide an outstanding experience for our learners. Being on the programme was a really positive experience, I like to overcome problems and find solutions, so I enjoyed it. The hard work starts when you qualify and get a full caseload of learners”

What did you enjoy the most?

“I love that everything was so new and exciting to learn, as I had been wanting a change for a long time. This was a job role that I really wanted but did not think I would get the opportunity. I liked all aspects of the programme as I loved the learning journey and looking at what I could learn, the qualifications I could achieve and how I could make a difference.”

If there is one thing, you would change about the programme what would that be?

“Nothing, I do not think I would change anything it worked really well, and I got a lot of support and information during the programme. If I had to say something it would be the do the AET qualification for training instead of the higher qualification that I did not end up completing at the time.”

What has been your most memorable moment with us?

“Getting my first learner through EPA and having that learner achieve a distinction. It made me feel really proud that I had helped them succeed.”

Let us talk about your continued career with Paragon Skills since qualifying, what gives you the most satisfaction now?

“Seeing my learners progress and achieve in their qualification or pass their functional skills as lot of my learners struggle with that. Seeing people succeed makes the job worthwhile.”

What does our pledge mean to you?

“To deliver a high standard of support and guidance to each learner on an individual basis.”

How do you do this in your role?

“By always learning and developing to be the best I can be, and building new relationships and understanding each person’s capabilities as everyone is different and learns in a different way.”

Which of our 5 Es do you resonate with the most?

“Energy because I am a naturally energised and enthusiastic person and I like to bring energy to every session to motivate and spur my leaners on. I can always empathise with them well as I have experience in that field so know what it is like, and how challenging it can be, so I try and use my high energy to keep them inspired and engaged with the programme.”

What steps are you taking currently to further develop yourself after completing the Graduate Personal Tutor Programme?

“Regular CPD, attending standardisation meetings, and completing my AET.”

How do you see your career progressing further with us?

“I am still really happy in my role as a Personal Tutor, as I feel like I am still always learning and developing but maybe in future I’d like to be in Quality, we have so many options here.”

Finally, why should others Paragon Skills as part of our next Graduate group?

“If someone is looking for a new challenge and new job role in a completely different sector this is a great opportunity, we are a great company to work for as we always develop our people. If you are considering this change of career and learning how to teach others, you should as you would not regret it.”

If you want to be part of our 2024 Graduate Personal Tutor Programme, apply today: https://cezanneondemand.intervieweb.it/paragonskills/jobs/graduate-personal-tutor-41016/en/



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