Returning to the care sector after retirement
Adrian has been working as a lead support worker for Brandon in Westbury-on-Severn, for nine months. He describes his journey to becoming a lead support worker and explains why it’s a great career choice for ambitious people.
Retiring when I was 60 and catching up with all the jobs, gardening, and taking holidays, I became very bored. I started to work with agencies, however the work available was inconsistent and required a lot of travelling. I was looking for a role which could offer me flexibility and support with training opportunities. Where I could work in a team environment. I know this will be my last permanent job as I can see myself working here until I am 75-80, like my mother.
Before retiring, I worked in the health and social care industry for 40 years in many different roles, including management positions. Reflecting on my career before retirement, I felt like I was missing something. I realised that management took me away from what I’m passionate about, which is caring, supporting, listening, and enabling people to make a positive difference in their lives.
Having friends and a partner who have worked/are working for Brandon, and only had positive things to say about the charity, led me to apply and be successful in being appointed as a lead support worker. Through the recruitment process, I was told whatever my previous experience and training is, I would receive specialist training for the role, and a good induction and I would be supported with a mentor. I was excited and motivated by this.
Working at Brandon
In Westbury-on-Severn, we support two young gentlemen to live in their own homes. The support and care we provide is personalised to them as they’ve moved from assessment and treatment settings to their homes.
What I really love about my job is that every day is different. One day, I’m taking someone out in their car to get a KFC and milkshake, then the next, I could be in an important medical meeting. I enjoy helping people we support to develop self-care skills to give them more independence.
Elements of my role which I do regularly are; checking finances to ensure all balance and receipts are present, cleaning, checking medications are in good supply, administering medication, as well as preparing and cooking meals. Activities and exercise are also a regular part of the role - from dancing, football, and skittles, to gardening. Not only do I support them with their daily needs, I have the opportunity to support them to achieve their goals and ambitions.
Even though I’ve worked in the care industry for most of my career, it was great to receive comprehensive training for my new role. I’ve also trained in Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), which is an approach to supporting people who display behaviour that we find concerning. The main aim of PBS is to improve the person’s quality of life, not just stop behaviours.
The PBS training enables us to support people to feel safe in their homes and in the community. We work in a person-centred way, being led by the people we support and encouraging them to maintain their independence by making choices, such as which clothes to wear, which meals they want to make or eat, and activities to name a few. It is important to respect everyone is different and understand how an individual likes to be supported.
In my role, I assist the team leader to support and motivate the team. It’s important we have open, honest communication and feel comfortable to suggest new ideas. We are a large team with a mix of care experience. Sharing each other's life experiences and skills means we have a sense of togetherness.
Personally, working in a large team is great as there are several of us working with the people we support. We share the tasks for the day and support each other as needed. This makes it a unique place to work where every day we make a difference.
There are elements of the role which can be challenging for me. Initially, it was providing personal care. However, we all need support and have changing needs at different times in our lives.
Working in the care sector has been the most incredible journey. I feel privileged being accepted and working in someone's home, it is a humbling experience. Giving the people we support the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, as well as maintain and develop independence, is very rewarding.
Leaving work after a shift I feel I’ve contributed to making people’s lives better. There’s a sense of achievement and a feeling of warmth knowing I have been there for them, supporting, caring, listening, and making jokes so we can all laugh.
Would I recommend the care sector?
Social care is a rapidly growing sector, and the opportunities for career progression are varied. Starting as a support worker is the first step to a building a career, and is truly rewarding.
I have experienced first-hand, the transferable skills and learning opportunities available. With ambition, you can go right to the top as you gain more experience. You could take on more responsibility as a senior support worker or manager. There are also opportunities to train as a social worker, or a learning disability nurse if you wish to. With the right attitude and motivation, you can choose where to go next.
For me it’s far more than just a job. It gives me a sense of purpose, knowing it’s important. You feel valued by the people you support and their families through the job.
Lead Support Worker
Do you want to work in a fulfilling role?
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