Meet some of our carers

Insights of Carewatch employees

Looking for work to fit around your studies?

Amber Jones is very clear on her career path into care. She’s already working hard to achieve her level 3 BTEC and hopes by the end of next year that she will have started a nursing course.

“I have made some great friends among the clients. They rely on you to be there for them, to help them keep their independence in their own homes.”

In the meantime, she’s visiting the homes of clients to help them with their personal care, while fitting in her studies which require attendance at college and the completion of three assignments a week.

Amber first got interested in a nursing career by chatting to staff on the ward where her father was recovering from an operation for a brain tumour. “He had to stay in hospital for three months, so there was plenty of time to get to know the nurses and ask them about what they did. I decided that was what I wanted to do with my life.” Until she can start her nursing course Amber loves the visits to her clients, many of whom have dementia, and she finds the work very rewarding. Her aunt also works for Carewatch and introduced her to the organisation, which employed her as a student care worker at the age of 17. ‘At first, it was quite hard to find the courage to go into strangers’ homes, but I soon got more confident and now I really love it. I have made some great friends among the clients. They rely on you to be there for them, to help them keep their independence in their own homes.”

When she’s not working for Carewatch or keeping up with her studies, Amber enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, who is an apprentice motor industry spray painter. Her ultimate aim, she says, is to work on a ward in a hospital, devoting her life to caring for others – a career path she’s already treading with confidence.

Need flexible work to fit around your family?

Care is central to Sandra Lawton’s life. With two teenage children and 10 ponies to look after, there’s precious little “me” time to spare.

“I really feel I’m making a difference and I’m so happy I can fit the job round my family”

Yet Sandra remains cheerful and determined to do all she can to make sure everyone gets the attention they need. “Don’t worry” she says “I make sure I get still get time for a cup of coffee and a laugh.” Sandra is a newcomer the care industry, having started with Carewatch last year. Her previous job was a self-employed rider-groom at a livery stables, as well as volunteering at a horse sanctuary. She still helps out there, visiting the Shetland ponies every day to feed and groom them.

“Horses have always played a big part in my life,” Sandra says, “We have pony parties to help raise money for the sanctuary and last Christmas my son dressed as Santa and I put cardboard antlers on a Shetland pony and we stood collecting money outside Tesco’s.” Now Sandra has the idea of combining the two parts of her life, looking into the possibility of taking her clients to visit the horses, or even bringing a Shetland to their home.

She was encouraged into her new role by a neighbour who told her “You’re a very caring person, you’d be perfect.” Sandra enrolled for the induction and training courses and enjoyed her first weeks on the job, shadowing experienced carers and getting a real understanding of the role.

“They showed me what to do and I picked it up a lot quicker than by sitting in a classroom. I now do all the tasks for my clients and I love it. My clients are such lovely people and we have a chat and a laugh every time I visit. Their families are happy that I’m looking after their relatives, because it gives them peace of mind too. They know that without our visits, their loved one might not be able to stay in their own home.  I really feel I’m making a difference.”

Looking ahead, Sandra hopes to continue working for Carewatch while her children, aged 12 and 14, are still at school. “I’m happy I can fit the job round them for now, but when they are more independent I would like to look at doing it full-time”.

Not ready for retirement yet?

Redundancy after 50 years as a tool room machinist left Bill Evans with a decision to make – what to do next with his life.

“You meet some lovely people and they are all so grateful for what you do. It keeps me active and stops me sitting at home in front of the TV all day.”

With no roles available in the area for his skills, the 67-year-old bravely decided to begin another career as a care worker. That was eight years ago and Bill is still helping those less fortunate than himself, despite having just celebrated his 75th birthday.  “It’s a great opportunity to help others,” he says “You meet some lovely people and they are all so grateful for what you do. It keeps me active and stops me sitting at home in front of the TV all day.”

He is very happy with the flexibility of his role as it allows him to drop his granddaughter off at school and pick her up in the afternoon, as well as to visit his seven or eight regular clients to help them with their personal care.  Bill says it can be an advantage to be an older carer. “You have plenty of experiences to share with clients…” he says.  “I’m a diabetic and on pills for blood pressure and other bits and pieces. I understand the problems they face and we often have a chat about our tablets and medical bits and bobs” he says with a laugh.

“You have to be organised to do the work, to have lots of patience and occasionally to think ‘one day, this could be me’, which makes you take extra care how you treat them. I love the work and will carry on doing it as long as I can.”

Progress your career and get job satisfaction everyday

As a teenager working as a cleaner in a nursing home, Sharon Smith watched experienced care staff and decided she would like to do the same one day. Nineteen years on, she is rising through the ranks of Carewatch and loving every minute of her career.

"I was 17, working as a cleaner in a nursing home and when I watched the carers I thought ‘I like the sound of that job’."

Sharon, 36, recently became a Quality Officer and is getting stuck in to this newly created role which involves co-ordinating visits, liaising with social services and medical staff and working closely with families to make sure the service they receive is outstanding  – as well as maintaining hands-on care for clients when required. “That’s mainly for holiday cover these days,” Sharon says. “I still love the practical side, though – and it gets me out of the office to meet people.” She clearly remembers the first time she thought of making care a career. “I was 17, working as a cleaner in a nursing home and when I watched the carers I thought I’d like to do that one day. Sharon joined Carewatch last year and was promoted to supervisor within a few months and when the new Quality Officer roles were created she jumped at the chance to apply. She is now intent on completing her NVQ level 5 which will help her achieve her next ambition – a management role.

“It’s all happened quite quickly and I have found the learning a bit challenging at times, but I am determined to complete the course and get on the best I can,” she said. “I’d like to gain as much knowledge as possible and see where it takes me.”

When she’s not at work, Sharon enjoys spending time with her three sons, who are now 13, 16 and 19, as well as going out with family and friends – although she admits her favourite way of spending an evening is putting her feet up in front of the TV and watching a good box set -“My work life can be busy – it’s good to switch off and take a break sometimes.”

Find a role that can grow with you

A happy team and happy customers is Tina Taylor’s aim in her working life. She is passionate about caring for people, whether staff or clients, and makes it her job to see that all those she’s responsible for are feeling content.

"I needed a job that would work around my family, but would also give me job satisfaction. I have always been a people person."

Tina, a branch manager with Carewatch, got her first job in care over 11 years ago, after the birth of her second child. She explains “I needed a job that would work around my family, but would also give me job satisfaction. I have always been a people person.  I love socialising and interacting with people and the thought of helping someone at the same time was really appealing to me.”

While working Tina studied for her NVQ level 2 and 3 and she was offered the role of field care supervisor. “I always had plans to progress in care and I was given the option to be supervisor in my own area, which meant I would still be looking after my clients but from a different position,” she says.  A care co-ordinating role came up next, then the move to branch manager. Tina thoroughly enjoys the work and although there is room for her to move further one day, for now she’s happy to stay where she is. “I just love caring for people. I’m passionate about it. A good day for me is knowing that all our customers are cared for and happy, but also knowing that my team are happy too.”

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