Recare’s aspiring apprentice delivers fresh enthusiasm for helping people with disabilities

Alfie Cheesman, 16 from Oxfordshire, has joined local Recare’s rehabilitation and mobility equipment specialist in Long Hanborough to fulfil his passion for engineering and helping vulnerable people.

Recare is a respected family-run business co-founded in 2008 by long-standing mobility industry specialists Richard and Tina Holland-Oakes. Specialists in supplying products to assist customers with restricted mobility ranging from walking difficulties through to complex medical needs. Recare equipment includes wheelchairs, powerchairs, specialist seating and home adaptions alongside associated companies specialising in advanced robotic neurological-exoskeletal suit technology which help people walk with spinal injury. This impressive range of specialist products, coupled with a caring and clinically led service, is unique within the assistive technology industry. 

Alongside its business activities, Recare endeavours to help train healthcare professionals for free, and supports the local workforce by being an equal opportunities employer. These added value promises also include a commitment to supporting work experience for schools and apprenticeship schemes – Alfie is the latest young recruit to join Recare through its educational apprenticeship programme. 

Recare has provided Alfie with a placement by working with The Engineering Trust based in Bicester. This apprenticeship provider has facilitated, with Richard, a structured three-year engineering and electronics educational course which involves a full-time role at Recare ­– three days’ employment and two days’ studying each week. Alfie is learning quickly alongside professionals, improving his capabilities and his job responsibilities are steadily growing as he becomes more involved with the business. Part of his current training is the maintenance and repair of basic to advanced mobility equipment. Alfie’s prowess in ‘hands on activities’ is now thriving as he builds on the Distinction grades he achieved with his GCSE engineering qualifications. Richard has purchased Alfie a set of his own precision tools and guides him daily – passing on his 40+ years of expertise in mechanics and electronics. 

Alfie is going from strength to strength as he explains:

“I have learnt so much since joining three months ago; it’s been really interesting. I have been trained on stairlifts and have already helped install one. I’m getting more involved with the programming of powered wheelchairs and preparing demonstration products which is fascinating. All the Recare staff are lovely and so enthusiastic about me being an apprentice. I really like the feeling that Recare products help people. I think sometimes older people can be forgotten which shouldn’t be the case. Working at Recare means I can do something to help older individuals in the community which I find rewarding.”

Richard first met Alfie at his school during a work experience evening. Richard presented his business to pupils at the local Marlborough C of E School in Woodstock which led to Alfie signing up to visit the equipment supplier. He was attracted by the prospect of ‘real world training’ and the chance to help vulnerable people, such as his grandparents. Following his successful work experience and enrolment with the Engineering Trust, Alfie chose Recare as his preferred apprenticeship job provider. This decision has been fully supported by his family and they are delighted to see Alfie so fulfilled when returning from work each day.

From an employer’s perspective Richard is finding Alfie’s achievements equally as rewarding as he adds:

“Offering opportunities for apprentices is vital for our industry; we need their fresh approach and new ideas to sustain service and innovation. Alfie has already proven to be an asset for our business with his positive and diligent approach. He is engaged with learning and is clearly enjoying himself. We are confident this bright beginning will continue as Alfie’s specialist knowledge widens and converts to service benefits for our clients.”

Alfie concludes:

“I believe Recare is an amazing company as I have seen how they really look after their customers. Everyone here is good at listening and talking to customers; it’s obvious they care. Richard and the team know their stuff. I’d recommend my apprenticeship scheme to other young people and if all goes well, I hope Recare offer me a job at the end. This will give me the opportunity to put all I have learnt into a career. I’m aiming to stay and progress with Recare for as long as I can.”