This November is National Career Development Month and it’s with this in mind we have worked alongside our amazing teams to write a series of career progression blogs about working in the care sector. We spoke to several people who have made the journey from Care Assistant to a senior role to reveal a bit more about what that path looked like for them. This is going to be a short roundup of some of those articles, to give you a taste of the inspiring stories to come.
The care sector offers a wide variety of career paths, and we’ve tried to illustrate a few of them in our stories. All the career paths we’ve looked at are different but all of them have a few things in common. They all started at the ground floor, working either as paid carers or by caring for a family member.
Tony is a good example of a person taking the route from caring for a relative to working professionally in care.
“I started as an unpaid carer looking after my Dad, supporting him with episodes of mental health deterioration,” recalls Tony, who now works as a Quality Manager for Cera Care.
Like many people who find themselves in Tony’s position, he found he was good at caring.
“I automatically worked in a manner to ensure his needs were met and that he was kept safe,” he says.
After finishing university, Tony realised that he wanted to have a full time career in care and started work as a carer. 15 years later, Tony now works in care in a management position and still loves working in the sector.
“I honestly do not know what I would do outside of Health and Social care,” says Tony.
Some people working in care arrived in the sector almost by accident. Many people enjoying a career in the Care Sector had no plans to spend their working life caring for others. Kathryn is a perfect example of this. With marriage on the horizon, Kathryn was looking for a part-time job to supplement her income to help save for her wedding.
“I was on the lookout for something,” explains Kathryn, “and wasn't overly fussed about what I wanted to do.”
There was also a family experience element in Kathryn’s choice. Her grandfather was being cared for, and seeing what a difference the carers made to his quality of life resonated when she started her own job search.
“I wondered if I could be a care worker,” she remembers. “I had a look online, I scrolled through a few roles and then saw some care jobs listed.”
Kathryn got a job as a carer. Working initially part-time, she soon swapped her day job as a hairdresser for a full time position in care. She’s now an Area Manager for Cera Care, and urges anyone thinking of a role in care to just go for it.
“All I can say is go for it,” says Kathryn. “I have done that every time an opportunity becomes available and if it's meant to be it will happen for you. Care work is one of the hardest yet most rewarding roles there is.”
Everyone we spoke to about their career in care had a similar message about the job satisfaction that working in the sector brings. This isn’t a career for those who don’t want to get particularly involved in their work. It’s for those of us who want our work to make a genuine difference.
A perfect example of this is Dan, who started work as a Care Assistant and now works as a Relationship Manager for Cera Care.
“I always want people to get the best care they can,” says Dan. “I care about the branches, and the people that work in them. I care about finding the right staff so that the service users can get the level of care they need. I’m always going to care, even when working in a managerial role. I always want to give it my best.”
If you’ve found this extract useful, then look out for the full series of articles that we will share throughout November. We hope you will find them inspirational and they will give you an insight into how you might develop your own career in care.