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21 November 2020

WeCare Wales Week: Day six - in the community

There are a range of caring roles available in the community, offering opportunities for career development working with children and adults.

There are many routes into working in the care sector. Here, we share stories from people that have joined the care sector from retail, health and criminology, as well as sharing how they have progressed their careers.

Sam and Harry (brothers),
Head of Service and Operations Project Manager

Sam and Harry Owen both started their social care journeys as Support Workers. The brothers both followed a structured career pathway to reach their current management roles, with Sam being the first to join M&D Care, followed closely by his younger brother Harry, who is the Operations Project Manager.

“I started with M&D Care ten years ago during its first year of inception,” Sam tells us. “I was a Support Worker in one of their residential homes called The Elms. The home catered for long-stay patients who had come from a ward setting, and my job was to help with integrating these patients back into the community after years of institutionalisation.”

“I did briefly move to a job working within the NHS, but I was thrilled when M&D offered me an opportunity to come back as the Registered Manager for the home where my career in care first began,” he explains. “I have now progressed even further and I’m currently Head of Service, overseeing several services across West Wales. That’s one of the great things about M&D – they give you the chance to expand your knowledge and experience. Thanks to them, I was able to obtain the relevant qualifications and training to pursue career opportunities I’d never dreamed of.”

Harry is currently Operations Project Manager and couldn’t agree more with what his brother says. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with M&D Care for the majority of my adult life, starting as a support worker in 2011 and then I progressed quickly to the role of Senior Support Worker, followed by Deputy Manager, Registered Manager and Head of Service,” Harry explains. “I completely agree with what Sam has said, without the belief and encouragement from the directors, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.

“Aside from the career opportunities for growth, the job is also hugely rewarding,” says Harry. “Sam and I both love the work we do. I am constantly motivated by watching the people we support as they achieve personal milestones – it’s amazing to play a part in that.”

Richard, Manual Handling Officer

Richard is a Manual Handling Officer. He works with people in the community, delivering training and ensuring appropriate use of equipment…

Tiffany, Manager

As a natural people person, Tiffany had dreamed of working in care her whole life, but she lacked the confidence. Now the Registered Manager at M&D Care, Tiffany remembers her journey into care fondly. “I knew I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives, but I struggled with self-belief and doubted my ability to work with young adults with mental health and learning disabilities,” she says. “But one day, I just took the plunge and applied for the role of Support Worker – and I’ve never looked back.”

Having had no prior experience of working in care, Tiffany wasn’t sure what to expect at first. “I needn’t have worried – I was fully supported to build the knowledge and skills needed for my role,” explains Tiffany. “The induction process was really informative, and I had the support of my manager and colleagues from day one, which really helped me to build my confidence. I quickly realised that I would always be encouraged to develop both personally and professionally for as far as I wanted to push my career – I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.”

Over the years, Tiffany has moved up the career ladder, earning numerous qualifications along the way.  She admits, “I sometimes can’t believe how far I’ve come. But there is such a fantastic network of support at M&D, I always know there is someone I can ask for help. As for my job, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. It is a privilege to play a part in the lives of the people we support. Being able to see them develop new skills and build their independence makes me so proud. Seeing their happiness when they achieve new things makes me really happy. I’m honoured to be part of their journey and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Charlotte, Occupational Therapist

Charlotte is an Occupational Therapist. She helps people who have difficulties carrying out day-to-day activities because of a disability, illness, trauma, ageing, or a range of long-term conditions…

Jaye, Sensory Assistant

Jaye has worked in the care sector for 21 years doing a variety of jobs, and most recently, she’s started working as a Sensory Assistant, a role in which she helps and supports people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind and those with sight loss. It’s a role that Jaye is deeply passionate about, as she tells us, “I love being able to support people and to promote and maintain their sense of independence. The feeling of being able to make a difference to a person’s life is the most rewarding and fulfilling experience ever.”

Sensory impairment comes under the Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014, and people like Jaye work hard to provide a preventative and holistic approach to support the needs of anyone who needs their services, and it’s a field that’s constantly growing with many opportunities for training and progression. “I have recently been seconded from my local authority to undertake a foundation degree in rehabilitation for people with visual loss,” explains Jaye. “I’m really looking forward to starting the next chapter and challenge in this wonderful sector. Due to the shortage of rehabilitation officers across Wales and the workforce diminishing quickly due to retirements in the sector, I’m determined to qualify as a rehabilitation officer so I can really make a difference.”

Emma, Dementia Go Project Manager

Emma is a Dementia Go Project Manager. She supports people living with dementia to live healthy lives…

Jenny, Consultant Nurse and Clinical Advisor

As a qualified registered nurse with over 35 NHS years’ experience, Jenny has an interesting and varied career in care with many management positions under her belt.  “Overall, my main experience has always revolved around supporting service users with behavioural problems,” explains Jenny. “No matter what level of seniority I’ve worked at, I’ve always kept myself up to date with any training, I have completed an MSc in Positive Approaches to Challenging Behaviour, and I have been an active member of the Wales Challenging Behaviour Community of Practice since its inception – I’m passionate about the work I do.”

Despite recently retiring from the NHS, Jenny wasn’t ready to leave the care sector. “After I retired from the NHS, I wanted a role where I could continue to utilise my skills and clinical expertise to support and improve the knowledge, competence and confidence of others in sector,” says Jenny. “I have high standards and clear values, which aligned perfectly with the ethos of M&D Care. My goals remain the same as when I first qualified all those years ago. I want to make measurable improvements in the quality of life of individuals with learning disabilities, mental health need and autism to ensure a co-productive relationship between service users and providers.”

Find a job in care

If you’re thinking of a career in care, take a look at our jobs board to get an idea of the type of roles available.