We all know this year has been different – but amidst some uncertainty, it’s also given people the chance to rethink their careers and what they really value in life.
For many, that has been playing a part in community life, and looking after the vulnerable – which is why plenty have found themselves starting rewarding new jobs in social care. City A.M. spoke to two individuals who’ve made the shift into this fulfilling new role.
It’s about sharing the same values
Ex-kickboxer Sunil might not be your stereotypical care worker, but for him, it’s about working with people who share his values: helping others.
Sunil earnt a degree in sports psychology before turning his hand to business – supporting youngsters and old people in the community through his gym. But things changed for him when his mother was taken ill.
“During my university years, my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer,” he tells us. “She was also disabled, so along with my sisters, we were her main caregivers until she sadly passed away.”
“I came across the role of the home care assistant. From the moment I started, I was made to feel very welcome – they were friendly and asked what I believed to be the right questions.”
Sunil spends most of his time with a former bank manager who he describes as a “lovely man.” He’s just passed his one year anniversary with him, helping him through Parkinson’s and giving his family some much needed respite. His family even offered Sunil a glass of bubbles to celebrate.
It wasn’t where he expected his career to go, but ever since Sunil got involved, he’s loved every minute.
“Caring as a profession is not something I had done before, and I didn’t realise that I would have the right skills to do this until (my company) pointed out that I had cared for my mum and held the natural skills and experience to be a great care worker,” he says.
There are no entry requirements for social care, but as Sunil recognised, people who are compassionate, socially minded and take pride in making a difference are perfect for the job.
Driving forward out of adversity
Plenty of jobs have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Camilla, a driving instructor in the Midlands, started to see her work dry up due to new restrictions on social distancing.
“I could see that Covid-19 was going to impact upon my ability to continue as an instructor and that I needed to seek an alternative job opportunity that I would enjoy,” she says.
Though Camilla had never worked in social care before, she had always wanted to be a care worker part-time – and 2020 presented the perfect time to pursue it.
Like many care workers, her desire to support individuals came from family experience, in this case a close family relative who went into a residential care home.
“He would have liked the choice of staying at home with a care professional to look after him there,” she says. Now providing that care and support at home for others, Camilla says she’s “proud” to help.
“I make sure I have a chat, that they have a newspaper, and it means so much to see their smile and to know they are going to have a great day,” she tells us.
But as well as being a rewarding job, it’s also perfect for Camilla’s career aspiration. Her employer gave her set hours, a clear contract, and good terms and conditions.
As a part-time care worker, Camilla plans to carry on working with the people she supports as well as going back to part-time driving instructing when life returns to normal. With her initial training in care work completed, she’s looking forward to finding a balance between her two roles in future.
“Both jobs fit really well together,” she says.
Learning on the job
Both Sunil and Camilla are always learning on the job. After interviews and initial training, care workers can expect to continue to develop their skills and potentially progress if that’s the route they choose.
Sunil was recently promoted to being a care supervisor. “I do see a real career,” he says of his relatively new role in care.
So challenging, yes, but rewarding in the long-term too.
There are thousands of exciting and engaging jobs across the social care sector, with vacancies available right now. Social care does not require any minimum qualifications and on-the-job paid training is available. Learn more at everydayisdifferent.com