Care work – it’s rewarding and it opens doors
Lorna Kent is the registered manager at Candlelight’s Sherborne branch and has had a career in care for over 20 years. She manages a team of office and care staff and is responsible for ensuring that safe, high-quality care is provided to all clients.
When I first began working in care, I was employed as a care assistant at a local residential home and followed this job with a number of roles in residential care and hospital wards over the coming years. When my children were young I worked when I could in a number of part-time roles. It was whilst doing some domestic cleaning at Warminster hospital that I realised that I really enjoyed the company of older people. I loved listening to their stories and making them laugh and soon realised that I was actually making a difference. I think that my employer spotted something in me too because I was soon offered a job as a care and support worker.
In 2006 I began work at a homecare company in Shaftesbury and realised that I had found my niche. I enjoyed the work and wanted to progress. I moved quite quickly through the ranks from domiciliary care, to liaison officer, then staff trainer, care coordinator and, finally, to registered manager. When the company I was working for was sold a few years later, I looked for a similar job in homecare elsewhere, and that’s when I saw that Candlelight Care was looking for a registered manager at its Sherborne branch. I jumped at the chance.
“I never dreamed that I would progress so far and go on to become a registered manager supporting 80+ clients and 25 staff.”
I’m proud of my achievements but it wasn’t always easy. I was constantly trying to juggle my work and family commitments and needed to get a range of qualifications in order to move into different fields of work. These included ‘Diploma Level 2 in Health & Social Care’, ‘Diploma Level 3 as Care Assessor’ (now ‘A1 Award’) and ‘Diploma 5 in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Young People’s Services and Adult Management’. But I was determined to succeed and managed to tap into resources of time and energy that I didn’t know I had!
I had left school with very few qualifications and low career expectations due to undiagnosed dyslexia and very little support from my teachers. I married young and had children fairly early but I always knew that I wanted to have a worthwhile career. So I enrolled at a local college to study communication skills and basic English and Maths. It was at this point that my dyslexia was finally diagnosed and I was shown that that having dyslexia needn’t be seen as a barrier, but was simply a different way of learning. My confidence soared and I did well in my studies, which opened up a world of opportunities for me.
The highlights of care work
What I love about my management role is giving other people the confidence to succeed (I know what it’s like to face struggles in life, and I understand that things aren’t always simple for my staff). I really enjoy leading my teams and supporting, nurturing and developing individuals as they carry out their challenging jobs. I actively encourage my staff to gain qualifications and I believe in promoting from within. My team’s achievements fill me with joy too. For example, I was really proud to accompany one of my care workers to last year’s Care Focus Awards when she was nominated as a finalist in the Quality Specialist Award category.
Believe in yourself. Anyone can do what they want to do with the right guidance and support.
Care is a great field to work in because it’s so rewarding to know you are making a difference to people’s lives and it opens doors to other aspects of health and social care, including occupational therapy or nursing. The work can be challenging though and requires a particular set of skills. Some of these can be learned, whilst others are personal qualities that care workers need to have. But I hope that my story shows that anyone can do well if they are committed to their work and are determined to put effort in to succeed.
Posted on: September 20, 2016