Catherine Gibson-Garford: overcoming adversity to achieve success

Apprenticeship: Level 3 Adult Care Worker at

About Catherine

"I enjoy using my own personal experiences to have a positive impact on the people I support"

Catherine is a truly inspirational Senior Healthcare Worker who against all odds overcome a series of obstacles throughout her life journey, and is now celebrating achieving her level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship with a Distinction.

The early years of Catherine’s journey were particularly unsettled, she didn’t have the same support and upbringing of the other children around her and was in and out of foster care from the age of 14. Throughout this period Catherine battled with her own mental health and was diagnosed with ADHD, and a couple of years later PTSD following a traumatic event.

Throughout her childhood and into adulthood, Catherine has always worked hard academically. However, she often found that the learning ‘wouldn’t stick’ and she found school work incredibly challenging, making it difficult for her to keep up. So much so, Catherine vividly remembers her English teacher once telling her “you’ll never make it, you’re too slow”. Three months before Catherine was due to sit her GCSEs, she was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyscalculia and then things finally started to make sense.

In her personal life, Catherine has also had to overcome several personal challenges. She has moved around between foster care, homelessness and being in supported living accommodation over the years. Throughout this, Catherine never gave up on her own learning and development, she has grasped every opportunity with both hands.

Catherine has now moved into her own flat and she has been living independently ever since. Catherine is also the legal guardian to her brother Callum, who has autism and presents challenging behaviour. Remarkably, Catherine has balanced caring for Callum with developing her career.

While providing support to Callum, she also successfully secured paid work, completed work experience to build her CV and completed distance learning courses in mental health and autism.


At the beginning of Catherine’s healthcare career, she secured a Support Worker role at a care home in Yeovil. Her line manager recognised the fantastic potential that Catherine had, and nominated her to commence our level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship programme.

Although Catherine’s apprenticeship journey began strong, Catherine began to feel overwhelmed by the anxiety of not achieving her qualification due to her dyslexia and dyscalculia. Our development coaches quickly addressed this by implementing an Advanced Learning Plan (ALS), focussing on developing Catherine’s skills and addressing her concerns.To further advance her career, Catherine then secured employment with Elysium Healthcare, which is where our team witnessed her biggest transformation to date.

We worked closely with Catherine’s new line manager to progress her apprenticeship through to completion, resulting in Catherine achieving a distinction (the highest possible grade). 

Since achieving her apprenticeship, Catherine has been promoted to Senior Healthcare Support Worker and has set her focus on advancing her career in nursing, with the long-term objective to achieve her Nursing degree.

Catherine’s determined approach to her future has also influenced her personal situation. She has ambitions to become a homeowner, but, for now, she is content caring for her beloved rescue dog Coco and her two rescue horses Batman and Rowan.


"The development coaches at Impact Futures were amazing at keeping me going. People have always been quick to give up on me, but they didn’t. They stuck with me all the way through and I felt that I was making them proud."


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