Concluding our series looking at working in the care sector.
Working in the care sector could be the most rewarding and fulfilling job you will ever do. You will be working with people who need all your care and attention, whether they be young children, vulnerable teenagers, or the elderly and infirm.
Jobs in the care sector are not the highest paid or most prestigious. But they are as vitally important as any job you will find, and the fulfilment you will get from making a real difference to someone’s life, someone who is fully dependent on your help, is in itself a very special sort of reward.
Over the last few weeks we have looked at some of the jobs that people who work in the care sector do, from nursery nurses to managers of residential care homes for troubled teenagers or the elderly and infirm. The people who fill those jobs have all told us the same thing: that while the work is hard and often challenging, the satisfaction they feel at the end of the day is immense.
Jacqui Kempa, nursery manager at the Cardiff University Daycare Centre, said she and her colleagues feel like part of an extended surrogate family for the children in their care.
“…it’s an absolute privilege to know that parents are trusting us to look after their children, even now with Covid-19 going on. I have their complete trust, and I cannot be put into words how much that means. We spend a very significant amount of time with the children and are role models for them. We are teaching them a lot. We are privileged to do that and watching those children develop and learn something you’ve taught them, nothing can ever surpass that.
“It’s the most rewarding job you will ever have, and whatever you put into it you will get twice as much back out.”
Claire Bevan, childcare opportunities manager at Swansea Council, said she would encourage anyone to go into childcare, and that there are plenty of opportunities for personal development and career progression so long as you have the right qualities.
“Do it, as long as you are passionate, have empathy, and want to learn and understand. The common perception is that once you get into childcare it’s very limited, but actually it opens the door to a whole world of opportunities in terms of careers.”
Wynne Randles, team leader in a therapeutic residential home for young people, said his present role gives him more time to engage with and help the young people in his care, compared to other youth work jobs he had done.
“Within a residential home you’re there full time, you can give them that support and role modelling they need. It’s such a rewarding job and it’s through that care you can supply that you can make life changing differences,”
While many people in the care sector work with young children and teenagers, others work with the elderly and infirm. The challenges may be different, but the reward from having made a positive difference to someone’s life is the same.
Claire Mather is operations manager at S&S Care, in charge of 3 residential care homes and a domiciliary care agency. Most of her service users are elderly and infirm, some suffering from advanced stages of dementia.
Claire originally planned to be a midwife, and she compares social care with working in a hospital where she did her nursing training.
“There’s no care in the hospital, it’s all about discharging the patients, and it’s a very medical approach, whereas social care is about getting to know people, giving them comfort and making a difference day to day,”
The care sector is critical to the Welsh economy; without the support that care workers provide to families by looking after children, the elderly and other vulnerable people, many adults would not be able to go out to work. The need for care workers is only going to increase in years to come, as the population grows and becomes more elderly.
The care sector has also received more high profile recognition as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been steps underway in recent years to improve skills in the sector and raise the standards of professional development.
“If you’ve played a role in any team where you’ve wanted to empower and help others, if you believe all children are a work in progress, if you could contribute to help them do what they want to do in life, come and have a chat to someone who works in the sector. Your skillset and qualities as a person could have ripples of effect for generations to come.”
So for a rewarding career with opportunities for professional development, perhaps it’s time to give social care a look.
Interested? For more info take a look at https://www.wecare.wales/
You will see that many people working in this arena have made the jump from jobs such as hospitality or retail. The sector urgently needs more social care workers so if you think you have transferrable skills then do think about using them and do take a look at possible roles in your area at www.wecare.wales/jobs
Finally still undecided? Then more general information is available at www.socialcare.wales or maybe if you just want to see what it is like to work in care then perhaps take our interactive quiz “A Question of Care” which you can find at www.aquestionofcare.org.uk