Former Newport and Wales rugby player changes direction with an apprenticeship

Former Wales prop forward Peter Rogers has become one of the country’s oldest apprentices as he uses the skills gained while playing international rugby union against the world’s best teams to guide his new career in health and social care.

Peter, 51, who won 18 caps for Wales and played club rugby for Newport, London Irish, Cardiff and Roma, believes it’s an ideal career for ex-professional sportsmen and women to consider.

He said: “For some people, it may not seem the most glamorous job in the world, but I would say that domiciliary health care is ideal for professional sportspeople who do not have a career to walk into when they retire.

“Playing professional sport and working in domiciliary health care require a similar set of skills – discipline, teamwork, good communications, mental strength and the ability to deal with complex situations where you need support. Both careers are very rewarding.”

Peter, who lives in Cardiff with his wife Stephanie, is happy to be following in the footsteps of his father, Phillip, who was a social worker in Swansea.

A Foundation Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care, delivered by learning provider t2 group, opened the door to his new career with Right at Home Cardiff and Newport. He has now progressed to a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) to develop his management skills, including helping with client assessments.

“When I started with Right at Home in June 2019, I only intended doing the job for about a year,” he said. “Now, two years later, I don’t think I am going to stop working in the care industry; I would miss all my regular service users too much.

“The training I have had has been superb. I enjoy going into people’s homes to provide care and I get a positive every day, which you do not get in many other jobs.

“What I have gained from the apprenticeships is the practical knowledge and life skills to do the job and that has given me the confidence to discuss important things with service users. The more knowledge I have, the more I enjoy the job.

“The fact that I was 50 when I started the apprenticeship must make me one of the oldest apprentices in Wales. It shows you are never too old to learn.”

Peter is not the only family member benefiting from an apprenticeship, as his son Jack is an apprentice electrician.

Abbey Folland, training and administration manager for Right at Home Cardiff and Newport, said: “Apprenticeships and further learning are so valuable, especially in the health and social care sector, as they allow and support people to take a complete change of direction in their life and start a new career.

“Peter started his journey with us with no health and social care background or experience but took the plunge as he wanted to give back. He sailed through his qualification and apprenticeship and it has helped him become the great carer that he is today.

“Peter has now embarked on a Higher Apprenticeship to help him understand and learn more about the health and social care sector and get involved with the office side of domiciliary care.

“Apprenticeships accommodate people from all walks of life and all age groups and are extremely important for ensuring our caregivers are the best they can be.”

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

South Wales Argus | Business