Switching sums for social care: why I decided to choose a career in social care
Amy Charnley, Care Co-ordinator at Senior Moments Care LLP – Blackpool/Fylde, tells us why she decided to change a degree in maths for a career in social care, and what she loves about her job.
Tell us a bit more about your current job role?
I have many responsibilities including working three days a week in our Meaningful Care Matters daycare. We like to describe it as being like a youth group for older people, and many of them have dementia. At our daycare we do a massive range of activities such as craft, baking, woodwork and going out on trips for picnics or even pub lunches. Every day is different so I never really know what to expect. The rest of my hours are made up of doing the rotas for our homecare team and handling other admin duties such as annual leave requests and filing.
What made you choose to work in social care?
I guess I never really consciously chose to work in social care. Just before the first lockdown I came home from university as the learning became virtual and my mum, who is Registered Manager of Senior Moments Care LLP – Blackpool/Fylde, introduced me to our rota system, thinking that if everyone became ill with COVID-19 I would be able to take this over.
Initially, I started managing the rotas as a way of limiting the number of care workers visiting each client to try and prevent any potential spread of COVID-19 should anyone catch it. Then when I finished university I continued this role and started taking on other responsibilities too including working in our daycare. Eventually, I started working full time.
As a maths student before, what skills did you find transferable to working in social care?
I found that a lot of my analytical skills became useful for doing the rotas, especially as my initial role was to narrow down the number of care workers visiting each client. When I was at university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so it’s great that I stumbled on a job that I enjoy doing.
What are your favourite things about working in social care?
The best thing about working in social care is having the ability to do something small that can make a massive difference to someone’s day and seeing the people we support living their best lives. Our daycare often feels like one big social group and I love that there is such a huge mix of people from different backgrounds that you probably wouldn’t see together anywhere else. Many of them have really interesting stories about their lives and careers and I love that I have the opportunity to hear them.
What would you say to anyone considering switching careers to social care?
I would tell them to do it, but to be aware that it’s a job you have to want to do. You need to be prepared for the hard days as you sometimes see people who are upset and feeling down but you’re also often there for their best days too, and sometimes these good days don't even feel like you're at work.
I don't think there are many other careers that are so rewarding and where you can constantly make such a positive difference to people’s days.
What values or skills do you think are most important for people considering working in social care?
I think the most important thing is that you need the right mindset, you have to want to do the job. Good social skills are definitely needed as you have to constantly interact with others including not just the people you’re supporting but also their loved ones and your colleagues. You need to be reliable as most of the time you’re working as part of a team and your actions, such as being late or not turning up, affects not just your colleagues but the people who rely on the team for support.
You also need to have a sense of humour, it would be incredibly boring if you couldn't have a laugh with the people you support.
This month Skills for Care is #CelebratingSocialCare, sharing good news stories and achievements from people doing such a great job working across the sector. Have a look at our #CelebratingSocialCare webpage to find out more about what makes working in social care special.