Stephen proves it’s never too late to learn

Stephen with Maria Wheeler, college assessor, and Sally Gardhouse, deputy manager
Stephen with Maria Wheeler, college assessor, and Sally Gardhouse, deputy manager

Most people in their late 50s usually start thinking about retirement.

But not 56-year-old Stephen Donovan, of The Spinney, who has just completed his apprenticeship - 40 years after doing his first one.

I needed to do something more fulfilling and the opportunity to join East View Housing presented itself

Stephen Donovan

Stephen was one of five students to be presented with an award at Sussex Coast College on Friday, March 13, at the annual Apprenticeships Award ceremony after completing his Level 2 diploma in Health and Social Care. He won the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year 19+ award.

Stephen works for East View Housing as a residential support worker and joined the firm in November 2012 with no experience.

At 16, he left school and did a four-year apprenticeship in car mechanics with Hollingsworths in Braybrooke Road. He worked there for seven years before being made redundant.

Stephen them worked in the building trade for more than 20 years. After that he was sub-contracting for Southern Water, repairing and resurfacing roads and pavements whenever there were water leaks.

For the last 10 years Stephen worked for Judges Postcards, spending the last five years in management before being made redundant.

Stephen said: “I came to a point in my life where I sat back and thought, ‘Let’s step out of the box and do something completely different’.

“I needed to do something more fulfilling and the opportunity to join East View Housing presented itself. After my initial six-month probationary period I realised I had found a job I really enjoyed. This spurred me on to gain a qualification in a Level 2 diploma Health and Social Care and that is how I was introduced to the Apprenticeship Scheme. I initially thought this was for the younger generation as I had done my first apprenticeship at 16, but this is not the case and is open to all age groups. I would advise anyone thinking about going into further education to give it a go, you are never too old and to win an apprenticeship award at my age of 56 is proof of that.”

Tim King, operations manager, said: “At East View Housing, we are very proud of Steve in winning the immediate apprentice of the year 19+. This is an outstanding achievement and clearly shows no matter what your age, experience or position, if you work hard and are committed to your personal development, you too can be successful. As a whole, the care and support industry benefits hugely from the experiences mature employees can offer and we want to encourage more people to come forward and make a career in care. Steve is a shining example of what can be achieved with commitment and hard work. The whole of East View Housing is very proud of him.”