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High Wycombe Solihull Surbiton

Learning at Work Week – Encouraging staff development at Royal Star & Garter

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Staff at Royal Star & Garter are supported to develop and progress their careers while working with the charity.


Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, and has Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. The charity offers a range of qualifications, including nursing diplomas and apprenticeship programmes.


Learning at Work Week runs from 16-22 May and is coordinated by the Campaign for Learning. It aims to put a spotlight on the importance and benefits of continual learning and development.

The first cohort of Royal Star & Garter staff at the start of their SNA course. Fiona, Leena and Karen are now qualified Nursing Associates

Royal Star & Garter put forward its first cohort of Student Nursing Associates (SNAs) in 2019, when Surbiton Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) Leena Ghale, Karen Jakeman and Fiona Mirembe started a two-year course. The charity met the costs of covering their roles during this period and, despite the pandemic forcing others on their course to pause their studies, the Surbiton cohort was able to continue through placements in other parts of the Home, and qualify on time. A separate cohort of Royal Star & Garter HCAs from the High Wycombe Home are expected to finish their SNA course this year, at around the same time a new group from Surbiton will begin theirs.


At Solihull, Lead Nurse Yuriy Bukovych qualified as a non-medical prescriber in July 2020. Royal Star & Garter covered the cost of the course and, once Yuriy qualified, it meant residents could receive prescribed medication within hours. It also brings wider-reaching benefits by reducing the workload and burden on GPs.

Royal Star & Garter covered the cost of Yuriy’s non-medical prescriber course

Reggie Ballos (lead photo – bottom left) is the Manager at the High Wycombe Home, having joined Royal Star & Garter as a nurse in 2009. In that time she has benefitted from mentorship training, completed an apprenticeship course, and is currently studying a Level Five Diploma in Leadership and Management in Adult Care. Speaking earlier this month, Reggie said: “The charity believes in, and invests in, its staff. I think that’s why so many people stay here, because they feel valued and have the opportunity to progress their careers.”


Royal Star & Garter also has a number of staff who have been through, or are going through, apprenticeship training. In Surbiton, Olivia Watson is poised to finish her Business Administration Apprenticeship, and will continue working for the charity within its People Team. A Healthcare Assistant who has recently joined is midway through her level 3 diploma in adult care, and the charity will continue to fund her qualification through the apprenticeship levy.

Olivia is poised to finish her Business Administration Apprenticeship

In total, Royal Star & Garter has 625 qualifications available for study via the apprenticeship levy, and is looking to enrol new High Wycombe staff members onto the Level 2/3 Diploma in Adult Care through the levy route.


Are staff are trained to promote wellbeing for the residents in the Homes, and also receive specialist dementia care training.


Pauline Shaw, Director of Care at Royal Star & Garter, said: “We want to invest in our staff, in recognition of their hard work and dedication. It’s something we feel passionately about. Benefitting from additional education is good for the individual and means we’re able to provide even better care to residents.”


For more information about working at Royal Star & Garter and to see vacancies, please visit

Marco with Navy veteran Jim. The High Wycombe Lead HCA is a Student Nursing Associate
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