With an ageing and rising population in Swindon, care for the elderly is increasingly on the agenda. With a rising demand across the country for carers, Swindon is no exception, however leading regional care provider First City Nursing and Care is encouraging people to consider 2018 the year for a career change and to take a look at care.
Two care assistants from Swindon are proof that no matter what your age, background or experience, a rewarding career can be within reach.
Liz Priestner and Alicia Woodward have both been care assistants for a year and now spend their working weeks working with a number of different people of all ages and with all range of needs – from full and complex care to respite and social outings.
However for both Liz and Alicia this is not their first career, or what they thought they would do.
Alicia, 21 from Lower Stratton, had worked in a hotel since she was 13. Starting as a kitchen assistant she moved across the hotel ending up on the gym reception responsible for new memberships. However, when the hotel had to close due to a large fire she found herself looking for a new challenge.
With a sister already working in care and having looked after her grandmother, Alicia had an idea of what the job was, but didn’t know what to expect.
“My sister enjoyed it and so I thought I’d see what I could do,” she said, “but each day and each placement is different and that’s what I enjoy about it.
“Each person you care for will need help in different ways. For some it’s about helping them do things that we do routinely but they never thought they would do again, like getting out of bed or brushing their teeth. Others just want company as you’re making their tea for them. For me the reward in in knowing that you’ve made a difference to that person.
“I can see my career moving forward now and I’ve got plans to complete an NVQ to hopefully become a team leader and become more involved in care planning. I’ve definitely made the right move.”
For Liz, care has been a regular part of her spare time but never considered for her main job until her son encouraged her after being made redundant from her previous job as a Paralegal at the age of 56.
“During the 1990s, I was a weekend and holiday volunteer carer for a group of group of disable young people. I had always enjoyed it, but had to give up when I moved to Chiseldon 17 years ago.
“I applied to First City after my son suggested a care role after being made redundant and having joined as a part time care assistant I now work as many hours as I can as I enjoy it so much. When I thought about it I realised that actually this is really what I want to do.
“I’ve been given lots of training as things have changed since I was a care volunteer and life experience also really counts for a lot. Care is much more than personal care but about being everything to people – health carer, appointment maker, chef and more. You’re helping people do things they never expected to do, to gain back their independence and make their own choices about how they want to live their lives.”
Stephen Trowbridge, managing director of First City, said: “Liz and Alicia are both excellent examples of the sort of people we look for here at First City.
“We don’t necessarily want people who have experience in care, but we look for people who have the right skills and attitudes to provide care.
“We want people who are passionate about helping others, who have a caring nature and who want to see others achieve everything they can. We provide the training and qualifications needed for the roles, but we can’t train people to have the right core values - to be positive, compassionate and caring - so that’s what we look for in the person.
“There is a need for more carers in Swindon and so if anyone is looking for a career change for the new year, then this is a job that will always be in demand. No matter your age, there is always a role for you in care.”
First City is looking for more care assistants and community support workers in Swindon and across Wiltshire. For more information visit www.firstcitynursing.co.uk or call either Antonia, Michael or Charlie on 01793 434222.