How did you first get into care?
I got into care originally because a family member set up a care company and recruited as many family members as she could to work for her. Since then, I have worked in care for about 30 years. I started part time and worked weekends and school holidays while I was raising young children; I also worked in term time doing school dinners. For about 15 years, I have worked full-time and have been at City Care Welwyn for 4.5 years.
How have you progressed to where you are now?
When I came into care full time about 15 years ago, I worked in an office role for a couple of years. I then moved as a Care Assistant with another company, and progressed up to Field Care Supervisor. During that time, I completed my PTTALS (now Level 3 Education and Training Qualification).
Then the opportunity came up here at City Care Welwyn 4.5 years ago for an in-house trainer. As I had got my education and training qualification, they made the job offer and I am still here now. I still provide front line care, mostly on weekends, when I am not training. I do the rotas as well so I can see where the gaps are and where I’m needed. I enjoy this and it is important to keep my hand in it as it gives me an insight into what is going on, getting to know the service users and identifying any additional training requirements.
What other qualifications have you gained throughout your career?
I have a Level 3 qualification in management as well as my Level 3 training qualification. I go on as much training as much as I can and is required. I have completed the Dementia Champion Pathway and Wound Management Pathway at HCPA. The pathways have led me to develop the dementia trainings that I am doing with our care assistants here. I always make this really engaging and give them an insight into what it may be like to have dementia such as using dementia goggles.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
When I get positive feedback after delivering training and they tell me the have learnt so much. I’ve also delivered training for care staff from other companies and their feedback was “We have never learnt so much in just 2 days”. One of them had been in care for a long time. She said she initially felt like she would not need this training again but she ended up really enjoying it and finding it useful; that meant a lot to me.
What’s the biggest challenge in your role?
If I was to say something was a challenge within training, I would say sometimes people don’t see the value in refresher courses when they have learnt it before, or think they know it all and don’t want to attend the course. Because my position exists here, carers know from the outset that they are going to have ongoing training and often say “We like coming to training because we see each other and everyone in the office”. I also ensure I schedule it flexibly so that it is not too much learning all at once.
What would you say to someone who has hesitations about working in care?
I would suggest trying it. Going on a shadow shift and shadowing one of our care assistants to see hands on what is involved. I would also talk to them about the training they would get to reassure them. Quite often, people do not realise what qualifications you can get and this can spark enthusiasm for the sector.
I would also explain the different tasks. People often see this in a deprecating way and I try to change this because I don’t feel it’s a fair way to look at care work. Carers do a fantastic job. They are required to do so many different things. You have to give it a go. Once people have started, we rarely have anyone no longer interested in the role because they have seen what it entails before they accept the job; ensuring that it is what they really want to do. The training and shadow shifts push them to want to get started when they see more experienced staff with the clients.