This is Dan’s career story, and it’s one of a series of articles we are sharing for career development month, designed to inspire anyone thinking about a career in the care sector.
Dan has recently been appointed as a Relationship Manager at Cera Care. It’s a role that comes with a lot of responsibility and requires plenty of experience in care work. Fortunately, Dan’s background in care has set him up perfectly for his new job.
20 years ago, Dan was a care worker. He followed a very familiar path into the sector having previously cared for his own brother who has learning disabilities. This is a common route into care. People who have had to care for a loved one gain insight into how they perform as carers, and they see first hand what a positive impact care can have on the quality of life for the person being cared for.
“I had seen the trials and tribulations of caring for someone,” says Dan. “I saw how difficult it can be.”
Despite this experience, or indeed because of it, Dan decided to work in care after he finished his education.
“I left college in 2000 with a BTEC Diploma in Sports Science,” recalls Dan. “My original plan was to use the skills I’d learned supporting children with disabilities. I saw a position advertised for Domiciliary Care Work as a Community Carer, and applied because I thought it would be a great way to get some experience in supporting people.”
Taking this role changed the course of Dan’s career. After two years of travelling all around Worcestershire caring for all ages of people, he took a job at the NHS working with adults with learning disabilities.
“I spent about three years in that role. Developing my skills, all the time learning the challenges of supporting adults with varying levels of needs. Some of which were often quite complex.”
Then came a bit of a directional change for Dan, but one that’s a quite common step for carers - he went into recruitment.
“My entire background has always been care, supported living and residential care,” says Dan. “My recruitment career followed the same path, recruiting people to work in the roles similar to my own previous work.”
Dan’s previous experience on the frontline of care was invaluable in his role as a recruiter.
“Working in care gives you a sure footing to understand the industry,” explains Dan. “You know what to look for in a person, a candidate for care work. It gives you an in-depth knowledge of what’s involved in the jobs you’re recruiting people for. You have real empathy for the carers you’re recruiting, working with and supporting.”
Dan spent a decade as a recruiter in the Care Sector across multiple companies in multiple roles. He’d been a recruiter, a team leader and manager during that spell of his career.
After a brief spell in Tech Recruitment, Dan had a moment of self reflection. “I wondered what I was doing in Tech, it didn’t feel right for me.” This moment of introspection was prompted by a decline in the health of his mother. Seeing his father struggling to care for both his mother and his brother, Dan decided to go back to work as a full time carer for his brother again.
That was around five years ago and sadly, his mother has since passed away. Dan decided it was time for change again.
“I felt that my brother needed to be free of me now. I’m his brother, I need to be there as his companion, his fun brother - not his full-time carer.”
Dan still acted as a respite carer for his brother but went back to work full-time in another recruiters role within care.
“There’s only two disciplines I’ve known in my working life - care and recruitment. I had a job as a recruiter again but it wasn’t really giving me everything I wanted from working. So when I saw the job I do now for Cera, I applied because it looked exactly like what I wanted to do - and indeed it is. I love this new role.”
We asked Dan if he’d like to go back to frontline care.
“I like both. I’m naturally a carer because I do care. I will always be a carer at heart because it is built into me because of my personal experience. It’s in my nature. I’ve seen what good care can do for families. You learn to be a support to that person who needs care. You don’t do it as an obligation, you do it automatically.”
Dan’s natural desire to care still plays a big part in his present role.
“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.”
Has this article inspired you to take up a career in care? Discover our latest job listings here.
If you would like to know more about the other career progression opportunities available in the care sector, please check out the other articles under our care career tips here.