‘I changed career to make a difference to people’s lives’

I used to work shifts in a pub, but the hours were antisocial, and I had started to feel that I had no real purpose. I was getting through a full day’s work and feeling like I hadn’t achieved anything.

One day earlier this year I came home late after a very tough shift and began searching online for a new career. I found an advert for a local care provider that specialises in home care. The ad said: ‘no previous experience necessary’, so I decided to apply.

I’d actually considered care work as a career a few times before, because my mother spent 27 years in the job. She enjoyed her work and always spoke very highly of it.

She was a very compassionate person and, looking back, her death in 2016 was one of the factors that prompted me to switch roles. I had thought about it at the time but assumed I didn’t have the right qualifications. So, I was pleased to discover I could apply, after all.

At the interview the team explained what the job entailed and asked me about my previous experience. I wasn’t sure how relevant being a bar supervisor was, but they pointed out that there were some compatible skills that I hadn’t considered.

You meet a lot of different people in pubs and not everyone is easy to deal with, so you have to adapt. You also have to learn to do lots of things at the same time and be organised.

They offered me the job and I started at the beginning of July. My work is arranged through an app, which assigns me to various people who need support locally. Sometimes they require an hour’s help here or there, sometimes my visits are longer.

I was a bit worried initially because there is a real sense of responsibility, but, as I’m relatively new, I am always working with more experienced care workers, so I soon began to relax and learn.

One care recipient, 71-year-old Barbara, has a live-in care worker, Delores, who also works for the same company as I do. Delores gives me support and training on the job and is very relaxed and patient. She shows me how to do something and then lets me get on with it – so I’m much quicker at doing things now than when I first started. We make a good team.

Barbara is a lovely lady and very kind. Her attitude is so positive and she’s always thanking us, even though we tell her she doesn’t need to worry. I promised myself I wouldn’t get attached to people when I took the job, but it’s impossible not to. You can’t be a robot.

I am intending to do my health and social care NVQ qualifications, as I know I’ve got a job for life now. I’ve seen how the pandemic has affected the hospitality trade as some of the people I worked with were furloughed, but there will always be a need for care workers.

These days I wake up with a sense of purpose and I come home feeling like I’ve made a real difference to someone’s life. I also have two young boys who I don’t live with, so I have more time to see them now, too. I’d say if you’re thinking about care work, go for it, you won’t regret it.

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