Friends of the Elderly: From Ukraine to the UK Care Sector

Friends of the Elderly: From Ukraine to the UK Care Sector

Kateryna's journey from Ukraine to Friends of the Elderly: working in a UK-based care setting

*All names have been changed to protect identities

Kateryna is a Ukrainian refugee working as a Domestic Assistant for Friends of the Elderly. In Ukraine, she previously worked in a bank, as well as teaching economics at a university and working with children. She talked to us about the recruitment process and working in her role.

The Recruitment Process

Originally searching for something more closely aligned to her experience in Ukraine, Kateryna decided that a role at Friends of the Elderly would be a welcoming setting she could turn her skills to. The recruitment process was quick, taking three weeks including the DBS check. This included a values-based careers conversation and Teams meetings.

Kateryna’s manager, Jane, explained that there were very few language issues, though accommodations were made to give Kateryna time to translate, and some terms used in the questions were simplified. Jane said that the only real difference was the paperwork required to employ a refugee. Kateryna was given a reference from a specialist charity that supports people into employment, housing, and with finances, as well as a character reference from a member of her host family.

The Role of Domestic Assistant

Kateryna began her role as a Domestic Assistant at the Friends of the Elderly care home in October 2022. The role consists of cleaning duties, and she keeps her day varied and interesting by talking and interacting with residents. She has enjoyed the diverse training the role has offered.

Kateryna talked about her enjoyment of building connections with others and hearing their stories. She described how she felt nervous on her first day, but was soon relaxed, thanks to a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The staff members were helpful, with Kateryna describing the home as “a beautiful place with beautiful people”. Any time she has needed help she has been well supported, and Jane has said that Kateryna has settled well into the team too. She’s “punctual, polite and a hard worker”.

Jane’s biggest piece of advice for those in a similar situation looking to enter the health and social care sector is to be confident - and be themselves. Everything has been manageable, whether that’s providing Kateryna with access to the internet for training at work, or needing to learn more about the paperwork.

Finding work in the UK has made Kateryna feel more comfortable, especially in supporting her 13-year-old daughter. She believes that working in social care will be a great experience for her future and encourages others to consider working in a care home.

Friends of the Elderly

Friends of the Elderly is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to providing exceptional care. They have care homes and day care services across the UK including Malvern, Oxfordshire and Surrey. Find your career at Friends of the Elderly.

The NCF 'Care & Housing Employers Together for Refugees' Scheme

The National Care Forum has been working with several partners to create helpful and meaningful opportunities and resources for employers wanting to support and hire refugees.

You can find government advice, information about pastoral care, and more.

Care and Support Jobs

We are listed as part of the NCF scheme as the place to advertise vacancies for Ukrainian refugees and other displaced people. We have an interactive map that signposts local support and organisations working with UK refugees.