‘I Feel Like Now I’m Contributing to Society’ – Rosemary Davey, Access to HE Student
“In a year of unexpected turns, many people have been considering new career paths, including in social care. Take Rosie, a 25-year-old care worker based in North Yorkshire, who has found her current role a rewarding contrast to her previous office-based job. “I left school at 16, and worked in an admin, customer service role for a double glazing company for nine years – but I never felt passionate or proud about it; I didn’t feel like I was making a difference in the world,” says Rosie. “It was monotonous, and there was no progression.” When Rosie was furloughed from her previous job during the Covid-19 lockdown in March, it set her thinking about her ambitions, to pursue a varied, fulfilling career in healthcare that could also potentially lead to further qualifications. “I had been thinking about going into nursing, but wanted some experience in care work before I made that jump – so I thought: go for it,” she explains brightly. Rosie explored online resources to start the search for her new career. She was encouraged to find a range of care work in several different regions. “I found a company who was doing home care in my local area, which is quite rural. It was good to realise the jobs weren’t just based in big cities,” she says. In Rosie’s case, working in-home care particularly appealed because of its variety; working with different people each day and enabling them to have the best quality of life possible. Many social care work roles are not limited to specific qualifications but are “values-based” employment.
Rosie had no previous experience in providing care, she was able to demonstrate a naturally caring and sociable disposition, and a commitment to the role. She received induction training and worked shadow shifts alongside experienced care workers to prepare her for her new job, but it was also clear that she had many transferable skills from her previous work. “The communication and customer service skills I had already have definitely played a massive part,” says Rosie. “This work involves chatting to people who might not see anybody or go outside, especially since the Covid pandemic. I’m also quite organised and efficient in managing my time from my previous role, which is important when you’re working independently.” She’s not alone in realising such adaptable strengths. “I know one woman in her mid-thirties who’d spent years working in retail; she’d been working in care for about a year and a half, and she is one of the best carers, she’s brilliant. It showed the skills she’d transferred from her previous role: communication and a caring attitude.” Since beginning her new career in May, Rosie has taken on its challenges and responsibilities, and also embraced its fulfilling qualities. “I did take a pay cut when I took this job, and you take on a lot of responsibility and have to work long hours. But there are many routes you can follow, and there is a lot of job satisfaction, so to me, it’s worth it. “One of the most rewarding parts of the job is that you meet a real variety of individuals. I love hearing their stories. You want to help them maintain their independence, and make sure they have the best quality of life. I do feel like I’m contributing to society, especially with it being around my local community, although I also work further afield if needed.” Rosie’s busy schedule involves daily shifts where she visits and assists people throughout their day – from helping to prepare meals and personal care, to simply calling in to have a chat. She currently combines this with studying, as her care work role also offers her a variety of funded training schemes so that she can extend her skills and personalise her future career path. “Since starting this job, I’ve been offered lots of training opportunities, including the chance to do a nurse practitioner degree, There are also lots of short courses, covering subjects such as nutrition, infection control and holistic massage,” she says enthusiastically. “I’m currently doing a level 2 NVQ in health and social care, which I don’t have to pay for. I’m also doing a level 3 access course so that I can go to university to study nursing next year, and I’ll be able to carry on working as a healthcare assistant while I’m training to be a nurse. “There are many different avenues that you can take, which I hadn’t known about before. You can stay in the private sector or move towards the NHS. If you enjoy communicating and getting to know people, and you have a caring attitude towards people, then care work would be the perfect role for you.”
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