My Apprenticeship Journey: Kimberley

Kimberley Graham has a really interesting story to tell. She wasn’t always confident in herself, and it wasn’t until she did her apprenticeship in care that she found her real calling in life. I spoke to Kimberley about the journey she went on, and the main things she learned from her experiences.

What happened when you left school?

I left school at 16 and went to do hairdressing at college. I thought I would get on with it, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. I didn’t know what to do next, so I got a job in retail. I ended up working in Claire’s Accessories for two years, which I loved. But my heart was set on something else.

I went back to college at the age of 17, and studied childcare. But for some reason I hated it too, I couldn’t get into the rhythm of enjoying school anymore. I was young, I didn’t really know what career I wanted to take. I felt like they wanted me to pick what I had to do for the rest of my life, and I was scared about what I was going to do for the rest of my life. But I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t know what to do.

What happened next?

My mum had always worked as a carer. She mostly cared for elderly people or younger people with disabilities. I always thought I couldn’t do that job. But when I reached 18 my mum asked if I wanted to come along with her, and fell in love with the job then and there.

For me, the most satisfying part of the job is that no one day is the same. Every day is different, and you have to be able to think on your feet and cope in any situation. I’ve never had a situation I couldn’t handle, and I’ve always really enjoyed the work.

For people who don’t understand care, they just think that you wipe people’s bums for a living. It’s actually really uncommon. Mostly it’s about caring for people day-to-day.

How did you pursue your career after that?

When I was 18 I started doing behind-the-scenes training, but fell pregnant. I worked all the way through my pregnancy and had a little girl. After my daughter turned one my partner and I separated, and I felt at rock bottom. I had to move back home with my mum. I gradually build myself back up with support from my friends and family, and stayed positive for my daughter.

I went back to work once my daughter started school, and loved the flexibility of being a carer. I worked during the day while she was at school, and also during the evening. I eventually accepted an apprenticeship with Lifetime. Although I was scared that I might not be able to complete it, I loved the course and completed Level 2 and the same day I signed up for Level 3.

What advice would you give someone who didn’t know what to do with their life?

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. My road to success has been very bendy, and I’ve been through a lot. But I’ve always known that things can get better. If you believe in yourself you can achieve anything you want to achieve.

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