Former hotel manager Paula Shepherd launched her own home care company after being inspired by her Acacia Training assessor.
Paula, 52, from Leek, had also worked as a factory manager and trained adults in college IT before switching to the care sector four years ago.
She said: “I just wanted a change and a job that made me feel like I was making a difference. Now I own my own company, Families Care UK, a home care service in Leek and the Moorlands.”
Paula took a level 2 health and social care course while working at Home Instead senior care in 2017, followed by a level 3 and then a level 5 in 2018.
Paula, whose husband and daughter also work in the care sector, said: “I’m encouraging both of them to take the courses, as I really enjoyed them and they allow me to offer quality care.
“I had a fantastic assessor at level 2, who was really supportive. I didn’t enjoy my time at school and it was a little daunting to go back into education, but there was no need to worry. I told my level 3 assessor, Danielle Dunn, about wanting to set up my own business and she’s been so inspirational and supportive. She’s really helped me to make my ideas a reality and I set up as a sole trader last October.
“It’s a very small business, which allows me to charge the minimum and provide a more personal service for my clients. Acacia has helped me a lot and it’s been well worth it.”
Danielle Dunn, Acacia Training assessor, said: “With us as tutors constantly helping learners to achieve their goals in life, I discussed with Paula her dream. At first Paula was not confident enough or did not know where to start with making this dream a reality.”
Danielle helped Paula establish goals and what steps she could take to achieve them, as well as looking at how to structure a business plan. Danielle said: “She grew with confidence after realising that her dream could actually be a reality.
“Fast forward to today and I am more than impressed with her set up already, after only just starting with this journey of her own company.”
Paula has policies and procedures in place for staff that she will employ in the near future, including a training room, and has booked herself to attend a train the trainer course in preparation to train her own staff.
Danielle added: “Paula’s certificates from Acacia Training sit proudly on the wall in her new office; her whole set up and planning is beyond exciting. I felt a bit emotional walking into her office and seeing where she is now, after thinking back to last year sitting with her and having this as only a plan. I’m pleased to hear Paula intends to use us for her future staff as the training provider too. We’re all incredibly proud of her.”