If I’d have known how much I enjoy care work, I’d have done it years ago!
Becky works at the Uckfield branch and has been with Candlelight for four years. She has two children, aged six and 11 months so she has had to set up a working arrangement with Candlelight that allows her to fulfil her family and work commitments.
I used to be a retail manager but wanted a change of direction once I was ready to return to work when my first child was three. My Mum, who works in a care home, recommended care work so I did some research. Initially, I was a little nervous:
“It’s a big responsibility to go into someone’s home to support and help them, and it was more of a confidence thing (for me) – whether I would be able to do what they needed, and to be able to support them in the way they needed.”
I was also concerned that I might be a little squeamish about personal care duties, and wasn’t sure how I would react to particular situations such as emergencies, or phoning ambulances. These situations aren’t common in everyday life, so I wasn’t sure how I would react in the moment.
I really enjoy working for Candlelight – all the care staff are lovely and they’re more than happy to help you out if you have any questions about clients.
The shadowing part of the training really helped me build confidence
I found the training helpful to learn how to use the equipment, such as hoists, etc. In particular, the shadowing was incredibly helpful (going out with the other carers, seeing what they’re doing, and asking questions).
“The shadowing sealed it for me because you’ve got that back up and you’ve got someone to ask questions of, and someone to teach you how to speak to people. When you walk into someone’s home for the first time, you’ve got to have a more experienced person with you to show you how to do things properly so that the client accepts you and trusts you.”
If I’d have known how much I enjoying caring, I would have done it years ago.
The other care staff at Candlelight are really supportive of each other and often swap phone numbers so we can ask each other questions if we are unsure what to do in a particular situation. Care work can be hard work and it’s often quite busy, so having unanswered questions can hold you up – so getting quick answers from others can be a really helpful back-up.
When you’re working in care, you need to be prepared for it to be busy. If you overrun with a client, then it can be a struggle getting to your next client on time, and you won’t necessarily get breaks between clients. And if there are staff off sick, then the whole schedule can be disrupted.
But you can always phone the office if you really feel like you’ve got too many and they’ll do their best to take one or two off you. And sometimes you’ll get a call if someone’s off sick to see whether you can cover for them, but they’re fine if you can’t do it. Sometimes I like getting the extra work if my partner’s at home and can look after the children. It’s a relief that it works so smoothly – it’s not always easy juggling work and family commitments.
It’s such a nice feeling, to know that you’ve been a part of helping somebody. It’s really nice.
Candlelight were really good when it came to me starting back at work. They were flexible regarding the hours I could do to fit around my children. We worked together and settled on the shift that suits me best (9.15am to 2.15pm to fit around school hours) and the weekend shifts that I used to do - it works really nicely, actually. They helped me out when my son had chicken pox and he wasn’t allowed to be in nursery - they managed to get some holiday days so I could look after him. They do their best and we help each other out.
I’d say the shadowing was the best part of the training because you can actually be hands-on.
My advice to people interested in working in care? Go for it!
I’d recommend a career in care to anyone who thinks they would enjoy it. The relationships you form with the clients are the best part of the job. Nobody wants to get to the stage in their lives when they need care, it’s not something that any of us expect or necessarily wants, but they really appreciate it. And you see them all the time and they become part of your life and you become part of theirs. For some people, we’re the only people they see and if it wasn’t for us they may not have seen or spoken to someone all day.
A career in care can be really rewarding. If you think you've got what it takes to support people through homecare, and you live in or around Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire or East Sussex, contact your nearest branch to find out about available opportunities.