Ian McHugh: Managing apprentices at Autism Together

Apprenticeship: Level 5 Leader in Adult Care

About Ian

"My staff have loved doing their apprenticeships, it’s made them more skilled workers."

Ian began working with Autism Together six years ago as a Support Worker. Having a naturally ambitious character, he quickly progressed up the career ladder, and in addition to his role as House Manager, he manages apprentices. At one point, he managed up to four Senior Support Worker apprentices.

Although he didn’t picture himself working in the sector, Ian found that working with people with autism to maximise their life opportunities and supporting operations at Autism Together has been extremely rewarding, and he’s built an impressive career with the organisation. The mission and ethos of Autism Together was already a familiar one that resonated with Ian on a personal level; Ian’s brother is autistic and is supported by Autism Together.

Ian’s day-to-day duties, following his progression to managing apprentices at Autism Together, involve keeping in close contact with each learner, monitoring their supervisions, and providing any support the learners may need.

Ian began his own apprenticeship journey with the Level 3 Team Leader programme, and after completing that, he progressed on to do his Level 5 Leader in Adult Care. His learning journey with Impact Futures and his dedicated work with Autism Together, make him uniquely qualified to guide new learners.

Overseeing other apprentices has given Ian further insight into how beneficial on-the-job learning can be; it helps learners to thrive, increases retainment in the organisation, and improves service delivery. Supporting other learners has allowed Ian to develop in his role and improve his managerial skills. His confidence in handling new situations has been boosted by helping his learners throughout their programs. Ian has experienced both a personal and professional sense of fulfilment gained from overseeing the impressive progress of the learners.


Ian is experiencing first-hand the benefits of work-based learning from two different perspectives.

Ian has gained extensive hands-on leadership, supervision and mentorship experience in his role as a Manager, all the while supporting other apprentices to flourish in the organisation.

Ian uses the skills he’s learnt in his apprenticeship to benefit the rest of his team. For example, a module he recently completed developed his task allocation skills and will enable him to boost team output.

One learner that Ian manages has even been allocated a Project Manager role, which has given Ian an immense amount of pride and motivation to continue his high-quality support.

Ian commented:

“Seeing the team develop and bring new ideas to the table has helped me with confidence and approaching new situations.”

The future

The future is bright for Ian. On track to complete his own learning in the next 19 months, Ian aspires to continue his career in management by applying for the role of a Registered Manager within the organisation.

The apprentices have benefitted from Ian’s knowledge and supervision, and they are becoming equipped to shape their own career path with Autism Together. Ian recommends that other employers should take on apprentices; he has enjoyed supporting them to become fully skilled, fully trained, and fully invested employees.

"I recommend managing apprentices if you have the opportunity. It gives you more responsibility and it helps you to pass on valuable skills and knowledge."


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