For me, and any carer, flexibility and support is a very important part of working and learning

9 March 2018

Apprenticeships are a key government policy to support transition to the labour market, social mobility, economic growth and improved productivity. While evidence shows that the benefits to apprentices, to businesses and to our wider economy and society are considerable, too many people are missing out. Those needing to work part-time or flexibly – including people with caring responsibilities, parents or those with disabilities – are effectively excluded, not by a lack of ambition, but by a lack of opportunity.

At our Positive Transitions – Supporting Young Adult Carers in Learning and Work conference, last week, young adult carer Cherelle spoke about the importance of flexibility in enabling her to complete her apprenticeship, alongside being sole care for her Mum and Nanna. Read Cherelle’s story below:


My name is Cherelle-Marie and I am currently completing a hairdressing apprenticeship at BANG Hair in York, whilst caring for my Mum and Nanna who live with disabilities ranging from hip dysplasia, anxiety and depression, to back and spinal problems.

Flexibility wise, the apprenticeship fits alongside my caring role nicely as they allow me to take time away from work to take my Mum and Nanna to appointments. They also let me ring and take phone calls from the doctors and hospital when I’m on shift, which is really understanding of them and important for me.

Not only is my work flexible, I see it as a good support system as most of my colleagues are aware of the caring role that I have outside of work, and they are always there for me to talk to. Sometimes when I am really struggling, and everything is getting to me, they are always there to listen to me talk when I need it the most. The colleagues I have at the hairdressers are more than just colleagues, they are like an extended family who are always there for each other.

For me, and any carer, flexibility and support is a very important part of working and learning. I would struggle to do an apprenticeship that wasn’t as flexible or as supportive alongside my caring role.

My Mum will be having an operation in the coming months, her second since October, and the flexibility I have with work will help me when this time comes.


Earlier this month Timewise, Learning and Work Institute, Young Women’s Trust and Trust for London published a new report exploring new models for part-time and flexible apprenticeships. Read the full report here.