Hear how people working in other sectors have transferred their skills to roles in the adult social care sector.
➥ Retail ➥ Catering ➥ Warehouse Work ➥ Business/Sales ➥ Student ➥ Leisure and hospitality ➥ Armed forces
Linda - from supermarket work to care worker to registered manager
Registered Manager Linda explains her journey and recommends a career in adult social care because no two days are ever the same. She gains great job satisfaction from knowing that she can make people happy and being there for her team of staff when they need her.
Linda started working in the sector as a care worker and quickly progressed to a management role helped by her previous management experience in an online shopping team at a national supermarket.
She had no formal care experience but had volunteered with her local church and felt she had the right values and transferable skills for the role. She attended an open day and after speaking to the employer was offered an interview. After a few months as a carer Linda asked about progressing into a management role. She was promoted to become a supervisor and completed a level 3 qualification funded by her employer. She was later promoted to a registered manager role and completed her level 5 diploma, now managing a team of care workers for a domiciliary care provider.
Linda enjoys her current role and plans to stay in it until retirement. She’ll continue to learn new ways of working to improve what she does, in the area of business management (finance, HR and compliance) in particular and believes continuous learning is crucial so that she can keep up to date with the sector and learn new ways of supporting people.
“Always give working in care a try – don’t let the personal care aspect put you off as you get used to that very quickly – and you’ll find yourself working in an extremely rewarding role.”
Linda - from kitchen/domestic worker to registered manager
After leaving school with no qualifications, Linda entered the adult social care sector as a kitchen assistant and domestic worker and progressed into a management role.
Now working as a registered manager, Linda is responsible for the day to day running of her service. She started working in the sector as a kitchen assistant and domestic worker, before becoming a junior carer and then progressing to a management role.
While working for this organisation she gained NVQ level 2, level 3 and level 4 qualifications, all of which were funded by her employer.
Mike - From factory/warehouse worker to team manager
Mike had previously worked in temporary roles in factories and warehouses, but a job with an outdoor pursuits company made him realise he enjoyed working with people. Mike now works as a team manager who support people with learning disabilities.
He began working as a support worker with no previous experience in social care and has since progressed into a management role. He wanted a stable career that would give him job satisfaction and security, so he applied for a role as a support worker, working with people with learning disabilities. He felt this role would combine his enjoyment of working with people and his skills teaching people sport and outdoor activities.
At first Mike felt out of his depth so his employer encouraged him to try working with different people in different care homes, and he volunteered to do overtime in respite and emergency services to develop his confidence. He soon found that the job could have been written just for him.
As a support worker Mike was keen to learn new things and try new ideas to improve the care he provided. As a manager he’s keen to continue this and is committed to developing motivated workers in his own team.
Mike started with no formal social care qualifications. He quickly completed the Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care, re-took his Maths and English GCSEs and then completed a level 3 diploma. He’s currently completing the level 5 Diploma. This was funded by his employer through Skills for Care’s Workforce Development Fund.
In his supervision Mike mentioned that he would be interested in becoming a team manager. He was given extra management responsibilities, including managing a service, and progressed into a deputy manager role. After 16 months in this deputy role he was appointed as a team manager and is currently responsible for three care homes. Mike feels that his willingness to learn and move out of his comfort zone has really helped his career progression, and he has picked up ideas from working in different settings that he can take back to the care homes he manages.
If you’re thinking about working in social care, Mike suggests ringing companies and asking them questions; arrange a meeting and make sure it’s right for you. Good companies will allow you to come in and spend time in the home to make sure you know what to expect.
Management and transferable skills
I became a support worker for Mencap after my son was born. I didn’t have any burning desire to be a support worker, and from memory, I applied because it was one of the few jobs available that could fit in (with some personal adjustment) to my life.
I can still recall my key students’ names, and the pride I felt when they achieved goals. I also recall how scary it was to be responsible for medication administration, though I think a little bit of fear about medication is a good thing as it keeps the mind sharp! And there is always a support network, whether in person, or on the phone.
I have had a number of roles since, including managing a care directorate across the south coast with around 800 care workers providing care in supported living, extra care, day centres and people’s own homes. During this time, I have learned through on-the-job training, being mentored by great colleagues and taken formal and informal training courses on topics from finance and management to and safeguarding. Other colleagues have moved into roles in the NHS, become social workers, commissioners, registered managers or set up their own businesses. I now have a Masters, something I hadn’t even considered when I started my first job.
The health and care system needs managers and senior managers who see things differently. Experience in health and social care certainly helps with operations management, though skills in marketing, contract management, HR, accountancy, compliance, project or programme management and strategy are as relevant in this sector as they are in manufacturing, hospitality or other industries. And other-industry insight is invaluable to improving on what we have.
For those that don’t have these skills yet but are interested in management, the health and care system is a family, and support is provided to help anyone progress. The opportunities are there for anyone who wants a career in health and social care. It’s hard work but it’s worth it.
Mike - from sales and marketing to sales and marketing for a care provider
Mike used his experience of marketing and sales to secure a similar role in the social care sector
From his mid-20s, Mike had always worked in direct sales. Although he enjoyed his various sales roles, Mike was keen to develop his wider sales and marketing skills. He hadn’t considered a career in the social care industry until it was recommended to him by a friend in the sector. At the time, Mike was considering his options and a possible career change, so decided to take up an initial role of care to get a taste of working in the industry. Although the change of role and sector was a bit of a culture shock at the beginning, within a couple of months of joining the company, Mike was thoroughly enjoying his newfound role and wished he’d found it sooner.
Emma: from student to care assistant
Emma moved into social care after studying health and social care at college
Emma studied health and social care at college and gained a level 3 qualification. She did a variety of placements before deciding her passion lay in supporting older vulnerable people. After college, she joined a care agency as a care assistant and loved it. She found the work rewarding and went home with a smile on her face nearly every day.
Throughout her career Emma has understood the importance of continuing to learn new things and has done lots of short courses including dementia care and parkinson’s disease. Emma’s currently doing a level 5 qualification and is being developed for promotion to a customer services manager. To help her in this promotion, she supports the current customer services managers and provides cover for them when needed. This has helped her gain relevant experience, ready for when a full-time position comes up. Emma’s ambition for the future is to carry on doing what she feels passionately about and perhaps one day become a care manager, something her level 5 diploma will support her with.
From hotel manager to regional manager
2011 was a life changing year for me. I was 33 years old and after 16 years in hospitality and obtaining the position of Hotel Manager my circumstances changed and I had to give up my job and relocate to Wales. On relocating I started looking for another job.
A chance meeting took place in a launderette, where I met a lady that managed a care agency. We got chatting and she started to explain what it was to be a care worker. I had never considered a career in the care industry before and was concerned that I wouldn’t be any good at looking after people. She explained that working in hospitality, I had lots of transferable skills, i.e. communicating with people, working under pressure, organisation skills etc. I wasn’t sold but agreed to visit the offices the next day to get more information on the position available. After meeting the team in the office and talking to a hand full of carers that came in that afternoon I was inspired. I had an interview that afternoon and was booked onto the training the following week. Within five weeks I was ready to go it alone as a trained care worker.
I worked for two years as a care worker and absolutely loved it! I left for work every day with the purpose to make a difference to at least one person. I was not only learning new skills but felt like I was part of a bigger family. Within the first two years I decided to undertake a level 2 qualification in care, and before I knew it I was starting my level 3. This is when I got my first opportunity to move into a senior role and became a field care supervisor.
By 2014 I was a coordinator and worked full time in the office. Although I missed my service users this was an opportunity to gain my level 5 management qualification. This was a massive deal for me as I didn’t sit my GCSE’s until I was 23. I passed! And I went on to take my first appointment as a branch manager. By 2015 I was managing my own branch delivering 2,500 hours of care per week and had a workforce of 140 carers.
I would never have believed that in the space of four years I would have done so well in the care industry. The progression is there if you are willing to work hard enough for it. I feel so lucky every day to have such a rewarding job. Please don’t misunderstand me, it can be stressful, challenging and exhausting. The reward is when you see your workforce and service users overcome the biggest challenges and you make a difference to people’s lives, ensuring they can remain in their homes safely.
So it’s 2020 and I am now a Regional Manager for the South West and look after a company called HomeLife Carers. My job now is to oversee six offices, 500 care workers and 30 operational staff. I love it!
Hanna: from the leisure industry to occupational therapist
Hanna started her career working in leisure management and secured a role within health and social care using some of the skills she learned earlier on in her career.
Over the last four and a half years, Hanna has worked as a part-time Senior Occupational Therapist. She supports the six care homes that specialise in residential nursing, dementia and mental health.
Logen: from pub worker to care worker
When Logen gave up her pub job last year she didn’t expect to be working in a national pandemic but like so many other care workers she has met that challenge head on.
Logen is now a home care assistant with Radfield Home Care Wakefield and Dewsbury. Betty, one of the people Logen supports, was upset that her sister in law passed away before her nephew had been born and wished she had a photo of all the family together with her new nephew. Logen used her computing skills to edit a photo of her sister in law into a family photo so it looked like they were all together and Betty was incredibly moved by the photo and the gesture.
Logen said, “Working for Radfield Home Care is more a way of life than a job - I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m visiting clients. It feels like a trip to a relative’s house. When you see their faces light up, that’s when it makes you realise that this is the right job to be in.”
For Radfield this new worker with a big personality is a classic example of the sort of job changer they want to attract. Gemma Bristow, Radfield’s Registered Care Manager noted...
“Logen is a pleasure to have as part of our exceptional care team - she is a breath of fresh air.
“She came to us with no professional care experience, but took all her training on board very quickly, and soon developed in her role as a care professional. Logen is extremely competent, confident and colleagues really enjoy working alongside her.
“This story clearly shows that she listened and understood the worries of her client, and has taken the initiative and done something extremely thoughtful and kind to cheer her up.”
From the army to running a care business
Following a short stint in the army, I returned to North Devon without a direction or idea of where my career pathway would lead.
I applied for a job and was appointed as a support worker in a supported living home for individuals with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions. I really enjoyed the variety and challenge that this opportunity allowed. I met amazing individual's, both people I supported and worked with. I knew that I wanted to continue to work within the care sector and completed all training that was offered to me. This led to me being offered an opportunity to be an assistant manager within another supported living home. I enjoyed the new challenge and the additional management responsibility. To allow me to continue to progress in my career, I enrolled on a psychology degree and studied alongside my job. This at times was challenging, but I am really pleased that I completed my studies.
Following the completion of my Degree, I undertook a level 5 qualification in leadership and management in social care to allow me to progress into a registered manager role. At this point my business partner and I started to formulate the idea of providing care to individuals in the community and how we would like a company to operate. And this is how I have moved into running and part owning Eclipse Care. We have held dear the values and person-centred focus that we as an organisation feel is so important. I continue to read many articles and undertake training to ensure I am fully informed to allow me to successfully undertake my role and lead our team.
I feel the career I have formed has been varied and rewarding, and the path I have chosen is one of many opportunities available to a successful career within health and social care. The training I have undertaken and qualifications I have gained have afforded me the opportunity to choose my career path, however these could have led to numerous career options within the sector.