From Retail, to Care, to Care Recruiter… why I love my care career and my top tips!

From Retail, to Care, to Care Recruiter… why I love my care career and my top tips!

Meet Lisa. Now working for a Recruitment Specialist to the care sector, she still beams with joy as she talks about her career in care, and couldn’t wait to share her top tips for job seekers who may be starting their journey into the sector for the first time.

Given she’s worked in care, and now recruits in care, we think she’s got the best story to tell…

So, Lisa, where did your journey into your care career start?

In 1997, I was made redundant from Littlewoods where I was a Senior Sales Assistant. This was sudden and I had no time to consider what I wanted to do for work. I had a care professional friend who told me I would be good at it because of my caring nature.

I applied, and at that time had to wait 6 weeks for my DBS (luckily, they don’t tend to take this long now!) and eventually I was able to start my new role as a Care Worker based in the community. My first role was with a City Council where I completed 6 weeks training to make sure I was comfortable with everything. I enjoyed meeting all the people we supported, and helping them to live independently at home in their own environment.

After a few years, the service became specialist in re-enablement and we supported people for 6 weeks to rehabilitate them in their own home once they came out of the hospital. I assisted them in washing, making their own meals, and taking medication. I enjoyed seeing them become fully independent and took great satisfaction knowing I had helped them.

Sounds like you loved it Lisa, so what next?

In 2018, I was unfortunately made redundant but couldn’t think of doing anything else! I took a job as a Care Worker for a leading home care provider. I assisted with washing, dressing, meals, medication, days out, companionship and much more. The people we supported were all wonderful and I got to see some beautiful homes – some even had a swimming pool! In fact, one of the people I supported told me to have a swim in his pool one day… he was joking of course but he made me laugh!

Were there any opportunities to develop in your role?

Absolutely. I was soon promoted to a Care Training Practitioner where I supervised, interviewed, recruited and trained care staff - but I still enjoyed going out seeing my service users when I carried out re-assessments. And yes, I saw them as “my service users” because they were truly like my own family to me.

With my next employer, I was offered a Trainer Development role. The owner of the care organisation wanted me to assist in building up the company by interviewing, recruiting and training new staff as well as existing staff. I really enjoyed working with others to ensure they were fully competent with areas such as health and safety.

I loved progressing from Carer to Senior Carer during my time in care. I felt it was an effortless transition because care comes from the heart so being there to help comes naturally to me.

Did you complete any formal training and qualifications?

I constantly gained qualifications as a Trainer and as a supervisor, and I have worked hard, achieving a Level 5 Leadership and Management Diploma. I also gained an Occupational Health and Safety Diploma plus many more certificates. I would encourage anyone to start their career in care because progression is available.

So, what came next?

I am now working in recruitment as a Compliance Officer. When I talk to candidates, I love to give them advice and answer any questions they are not sure about - and let them know about my career and how rewarding the role is.

This is what I often advise…

Lisa’s top tips for working in care:

  • Carry a tin opener in your car as some people’s homes have old ones that are hard to open tins with!

  • Always knock on a person’s door and make yourself heard as you walk into their own home, so you do not startle them.
  • Take 5 minutes to just talk. This means more than the actual task at hand.
  • Report any concerns you notice - such as lack of food or heating.
  • Keep a jar of vaporub for times when individuals’ homes may not be clean… a small amount by your nostrils helps!
  • If it is near to their birthday, buy them a card - this will mean the world to them and often melts hearts.
  • Always ask a person’s preference of what they want or need and never presume.
  • Keep a clean towel in your car. I cared for a lady who did not get her laundry collected often, so I would have a clean towel without her knowing so that she was not embarrassed.
  • Let the individual help you do the tasks e.g. washing up. Offer to wash up and let them dry up; involve them as much as possible.
  • I would always buy a small Easter Egg or a small selection box at Christmas - as some people I cared for did not have family.
  • Complete as much learning as you can and any refresher training.
  • Offer to take them out - even if it’s for a short walk (as long as a risk assessment has been completed of course).

Doesn’t Lisa sound amazing? We need many more Lisa’s in care – so if she has inspired you, find your new career in care here today.