Open Awards is delighted to be offering the End-point Assessment for the Level 3 Peer Worker apprenticeship. The occupation is unique in that it is only open to those who have expertise through lived experience. Our team of assessment developers and assessors share what peer work means to them, and how their lived experience has influenced their careers.
I have been employed as a Peer Worker in adult community health for Notts Healthcare since 2020. Having first-hand experience of how life-changing it can be to have access to effective mental health care was my main motivation for re-training to work within Mental Health Services.
I first discovered peer support whilst enrolled at the Nottingham Recovery College, and instantly knew it was something I wanted to explore further as a future career. I love being able to ‘fly the flag' for peer support and those who are learning to live alongside their mental health challenges. It’s an exciting time to be part of a gradual shift in culture, where the service-user is being seen as the ‘expert’ in their own recovery; lived experience, the use of strengths-based language and the art of active listening, along with showing our vulnerability is being used in a unique way to allow service-users to feel empowered, validated and heard, and offer them hope that recovery is possible.
Being passionate about the progression and development of peer work meant I felt honoured to be invited to co-produce the End Point Assessments, for the Level 3 Peer Worker Apprenticeship with Open Awards. It has been an incredible opportunity to work on this brand-new model, showcasing the importance of co-design to embed the peer support values and principles into the learning experience, and help shape the future of peer work for the next generation.
From age 14 I have had a lived experience of mental ill health as I was diagnosed with anorexia. I see myself as a psychiatric survivor as I had 10 years of psychiatric care, which included many inpatient stays. When I walked away from mental health services aged 24 I was clinically recovered but not personally recovered and felt more traumatised and hopeless then when I had first entered services.
I first heard about peer support roles when I was studying for a MSc on Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion, 20 years after I had left services. I could see it had a really important role in personal recovery, so I applied and got my first job at Herts Mind Network in as a peer support worker. I remained at HMN for 5 years and by then had become Head of Peer Support, Training and Counselling. I have since left my position and I now work freelance as a peer support trainer and consultant across many different organisations.
I am incredibly passionate about peer support and its transformational potential in mental health services and in supporting people along their own personal recovery journey.
I am wellbeing and self-awareness advocate who inspires people through my own lived experience of cancer, which led to brain injury. I am also a self-published author, speaker, holistic advisor and peer support worker.
I really enjoy being a peer support worker because my whole life changed at 17 when I went through cancer and brain injury, and there was a real lack of support back then. I can now work and support so many others, and I wouldn't have had such a purposeful role if I had never experienced what I went through. Knowing that I can be there to listen and signpost people at one of the hardest times they may ever go through is beautiful because I know they don't have to feel so alone.
I just love the fact that this apprenticeship has been made to help give peer support workers the right tools for them to support others. I helped with writing questions and indicative content for the examination to give guidance to assessors on what to ask and the type of answers they could expect.
To find out more about the Level 3 Peer Worker apprenticeship Standard, click here or contact the team.