She felt the qualification, run by Care Training East Midlands, was the perfect opportunity to try something new.
She was invited to Care Training's centre for a taster week to find out more about working in health and social care.
She wanted to make sure she had a firm understanding of what was involved in caring for the elderly.
Vanessa, then 18, was successful in securing work at Derbyshire Haven Care Home in Wollaton.
She started work four days a week in June 2009 and settled in quickly at the 12-service-user home.
Her responsibilities include personal care and contributing to record-keeping.
One of her main roles was to make sure service users were kept entertained, including playing cards with them and taking them around Wollaton Park. She described work there as: "Exactly how I expected and it was easy to get on with everyone."
Vanessa completed the NVQ element of the apprenticeship, with her assessor visiting her at work to make sure she met with requirements.
She also completed a technical certificate element, at Care Training East Midlands' centre. This gave her the chance to get a deeper understanding of what work was involved.
Vanessa said her tutors at Care Training were "always helpful".
Now 21, Vanessa has continued her employment with Derbyshire Haven and has moved on to studying for an advanced apprenticeship in health and social care.
She said: "I am taking it as it comes. I am currently enjoying where I am. I am very thankful and grateful for the opportunity."
Care Training is looking to help more young people find an apprenticeship that is right for them with its Ignite scheme.
The scheme will provide free impartial advice, guidance and information on careers, further learning and apprenticeships for young people aged 16 to 18 who are not in education, training or employment.
It consists of individual, tailored programmes based on the young person and their chosen vocational aspiration.
For more information call 0115 959 9544, or visit www.ignite-east-midlands.co.uk
Sourced from This is Nottingham, 24th April 2012.