I can't think of any downsides to the job – I love it!
Emily joined Candlelight Care in April 2015. She has already been promoted to Senior Care Worker and balances her busy working life with bringing up her two children.
I started with a “little weekend job” in a residential home
When my mum worked in a residential home when I was about 13, I used to go with her to see the clients. I would sit and talk to them, and then one day the manager asked if I would be interested in a “little weekend job”, so I started helping out doing teas and coffees. When I left school, I went straight into an apprenticeship and I’ve been working in care ever since.
After ten years working in the same care home, and having completed my NVQ 2 and NVQ 3, I fancied a change. I saw that Candlelight Care had a vacancy and so I read through their CQC reports and they sounded like a really lovely company.
The change of job was a bit of a shock to the system to begin with – there’s a lot to learn. But the support you get is just amazing, and after a few weeks, you get your head round it all.
It's fantastic. I love it.
The main difference between residential and domiciliary care is that with domiciliary care, the client has chosen to have you in their house nine times out of ten. I think that in a residential home clients are often kind of pressurised into it, it’s what their family wants as opposed to what and they just want to be home.
Also, quite often in a residential home you have one or two dominating characters and that can sometimes take the care away from everybody else. With domiciliary care, even if you’ve just got 30 minutes to see someone, that’s 30 minutes of quality, one-to-one care and time with that one person.
The support you get from the office is fantastic
Even though you’re out on your own, it’s not a lonely job because there’s so much support from the office – there’s always somebody at the end of the phone and the office call all the time to check in with you and make sure you’re okay. You can ask them anything, even the smallest thing. You won’t be judged, they just say, “yep, that’s fine, we’ll help you.”
To be a good care worker, you need to be committed to changing people’s lives
In order to be a care worker, you have to be really sympathetic and empathetic. I think you need to really understand the core of the person – because sometimes clients change a lot with age and illness – and you need to remember the main root of that person and who they were before they became ill.
When you’re helping someone in their home, you’re helping them to maintain their dignity and their lifestyle and you’re not taking them away from their surroundings and their memories. When a client’s in their home, that makes them happy, and it also keeps them going that little bit longer.
Candlelight Care are very flexible in terms of working around your needs
I’ve got two children and as my husband works 9-5, I look after the kids in the day and then we do a changeover when I go to work. I’ve also got a really good supportive family so if I need them to keep an eye on kids, they will. I’ve been really lucky.
I’ve always enjoyed care and I want to progress and so I’ve made it happen, in a way that’s balanced between my work and me and my family.
It was lovely to get acknowledged and progress within Candlelight Care.
The training will continue for as long as I need
When I started at Candlelight Care, I told them that I wanted to progress and prove myself. So I just worked really hard and did what I could, and after six months I was promoted to Senior Care Worker. If you want to progress, Candlelight Care are there to push you and they’ve been so supportive. They’re brilliant.
Also, they’re supportive in terms of training you up for your new position. My new job involves a lot more paperwork! So I’m doing in-house training and I have a fantastic mentor who’s teaching me everything she knows.
I want to keep going - I want to go as far as I can. At the moment there are no other higher positions but I’m hoping that in a few years another position will come up and then I’ll be able to jump the ladder again.
I’d recommend working for Candlelight Care 100%. They’re brilliant.
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.