Award-winning apprentice Billy is ‘the embodiment of everything inclusion and disability service is about’ 

Published on: May 14th 2024

An apprentice with Active Tameside’s Everybody Can adult day service has been recognised by his training provider – the latest chapter in a journey that has seen him go from service user to provider. 

Billy Gibson, from Denton, was first enrolled in the award-winning Everybody Can service as a five-year-old with special educational needs.  

Fifteen years on, and Billy is now a life skills and independence support worker, helping adults with additional needs, as well as supporting children in the Everybody Can Outreach Targeted Support service and working at Active Tameside’s Community Cycle Circuit. 

His remarkable achievement was recognised with an award from Tameside College, with whom Billy is nearing the end of his Level 2 Health and Social Care apprenticeship. 

Dan Higgins, Everybody Can’s Head of Health and Social Outcomes, says: “Billy completely embodies our service and organisation.  

“He showcases the fact that we’re here for people to live their best life and for them to reach their own potential. Seeing Billy’s journey is something that makes me incredibly proud and it shows that no matter what your needs or ability are, you certainly can achieve. Billy has become a highly valued member of our workforce.” 

Having started out receiving support from Everybody Can, Billy, a former student at Denton Community College, then became a volunteer with the service in his teens before securing his apprenticeship. 

And the award is a source of great pride for Billy’s parents; Caroline, a Business Support Assistant with Active Tameside’s Fuel 4 Fun initiative for young people on benefit-related free school meals, and Paul, a lorry driver, who also helps out at the community cycle track. 

Mum Caroline says: “Billy has gone from being a shy, anxious child not wanting to join in with anything or anyone, to being the confident, caring, compassionate staff member he is today; leading sessions, interacting with all staff and service users and understanding the clients’ needs.  

“To say I am proud of the person Billy has become would be a massive understatement and the involvement with the Everybody Can team during the last 15 years has made a huge impact on this.” 

Billy’s award was one of two successes for Active Tameside when the college held its 2024 awards as part of National Apprenticeship Week, when the organisation was given the Employer in Health award. 

Dan adds: “Working with Tameside College has always been a positive experience; their ethos aligns with ours as an organisation, putting the people they support first whilst providing greater social and economic impact. 

“The apprentice pathway has a tremendous impact on our own workforce, through the partnership we have in place.” 

Everybody Can supports people with additional needs and/or a disability from the age of three throughout their life. Its services encompass all walks of life, including social care, community interaction, education and employment.  

It also runs a Supported Internship scheme for 16-24 year olds with an education, health, and care plan (EHCP), which gives young people with additional needs the opportunity to develop their employability skills and progress into paid employment.