Front line care workers in North Yorkshire, as well as the people they care for, have come together to call for more people to step forward and join the care workforce.
The voices and images of people who work in care and those they look after across the county will fill the airwaves and appear in TV ads from this week to kickstart a major 2022 North Yorkshire recruitment drive at a critical time for the care sector.
People of all ages and all backgrounds work as care professionals in North Yorkshire. The need for more people to join the sector has never been
We provides training, flexibility and clear career progression.
North Yorkshire has 20,000 people working in the care sector, from the 13,000 care and support workers in 500 organisations providing services in residential care and people’s homes through to social workers, project managers and administrators. On any given day, there are at least 1,000 jobs available across the county.
Below, read care workers own words about what makes a career in care so rewarding.
And try your hand at the myth-busting Make Care Matter game for a chance to win a great prize.
Find out more and apply for jobs on our Make Care Matter recruitment website.
Meet some of our amazing carers
Some workers leave the care sector for jobs in retail but Alex Slade has taken the opposite route and is riding high with a successful and satisfying career in North Yorkshire.
In addition to helping those who have been in hospital to live back in the community Alex has a day each week studying for her Level Three qualification in Health and Social Care, which will help her career progress.
In the meantime, however, Alex, 29, enjoys her role with the County Council’s north Harrogate re-ablement team because of the positive impact she can have on people’s lives.
She said: “In this team you see people progress and sometimes they can go on to not need care.
“It is lovely to help people become independent again and I find it very rewarding.”
The job can involve, quite literally, getting people back on their feet after a fall, or learning to look after themselves again after a stay in hospital.
She spent five years working as a one-to-one carer before moving to the re-ablement team, a switch which allowed her to get to know a wider spectrum of people.
It is a very different world from the early years of her career, working in a burger bar at 16 before moving on to shops.
Although Alex finds her main work rewarding, she has a broad sphere of responsibilities, including spending time as an Independence Co-ordinator, conducting assessments to work out the type of help – such as specialist equipment – clients may need.
Alex has a spread of responsibilities, coupled with working towards a higher qualification, that reflect the career development encouraged by North Yorkshire’s senior staff.
“My team manager always wants us to be our best-selves and encourages us to do more,” she said.
The idea of a ‘job for life’ is increasingly unfashionable as people seek fresh challenges and fulfilment, with caring careers providing ideal opportunities.
When injury cut short George Meads’ Army career, he went into engineering for a job he now accepts he ‘hated’, despite having the right skills.
Family circumstances saw him volunteering, and then working, for a charity delivering care with adults and children with learning disabilities and complex needs. As he realised he had an aptitude for helping others he gained qualifications and experience. Seven years ago he joined the County Council in his hometown, Scarborough.
While he has now moved to a care management job from front line care delivery, he still relies on the skills and experience from that time to help in his decision-making.
“I have been able to keep evolving and I am still learning new skills and experience daily,” he said.
“Previously, I would never have thought I would be working within a great team supporting individuals with complex care and support needs.
“The great positive for me is being in a position of trust with the reward you receive, from improving people’s lives and the words ‘thank you’, especially from the loved ones we support. That keeps me going.”
George has worked in various hands-on care delivery roles, and today is a social care co-ordinator, assessing the levels of care and support people need.
“It was a progression for me and shows what you can achieve if you are enthusiastic about it and willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone,” he said.
“This is a job where you know you absolutely make a difference,” said Kashmir Kaur, who is a social care coordinator in Harrogate.
“I love the face-to-face, front line contact with people, and it’s the one job I’ve had where I really don’t feel like it’s a job – for me it’s more a way of life.”
Kashmir joined the social care workforce after a variety of jobs and raising a family. She began her working life as a clerical worker at the University of Bradford and then moved to Harrogate where she ran her own newsagent business.
During this time, she realised that people can become vulnerable at any time in their life through loneliness, addiction, abuse, poverty and physical or mental health issues. As a result, in her 40s, she decided on a change of course that started with volunteering and completing an NVQ in Health and Social Care. This led to a job with the County Council, supporting adults with mental health.
Now at the age of 52 she works as a social care coordinator, assessing people’s care and support needs. She is also undertaking a degree with The Open University supported by the County Council, to become a social worker.
She said: “This job gives you so much stimulus. It’s very person-centred and it’s about giving people a voice and listening – finding the solution which suits people best to meet their need, such as one 107-year-old woman we supported to live in her own home until she died, which was her wish.
“It’s also a job I can fit around my life. I work full-time, but I compress my hours so that I have a day a week to care for my grandchildren and my mother. I love the fact that I can support my multi-generational family and also continue on my own career path. As a social work apprentice, I am currently taking a degree at the same time as my son!
“There are many challenges to my role which require resilience and compromise, but no two days are the same. It’s a dream job for me that I am passionate about.”
Like many with an instinct for a career caring for others, the young Tina Simpson assumed nursing would be the obvious option.
But after what she assumed would be a stop-gap job as a relief care assistant in a care home in North Yorkshire, she never went back to her original plan.
The care sector provided more satisfaction and career options than she had imagined possible.
That was the 1980s, but the same principles apply today and Tina urges anyone with an interest in helping others to consider it as a career.
Her own ‘relief’ position became permanent within three months and she found herself among an extended family of colleagues and residents and the opportunity to make a difference in life.
“I absolutely loved it. It was like a huge extended family and I used to think that I would go in and make the day the best it could be for people living in the home,” she said.
Her interest in social work led to qualifications and career development, with the flexibility of the sector meaning she could adapt her career around a young family.
Her career has taken her from care home management to social work roles and on to her current position as Head of Care and Support for Scarborough and Whitby for the County Council.
“Working in the sector exposed me to career opportunities I hadn’t even thought about. I never did my nurse’s training, instead I was seconded by North Yorkshire to complete my social work qualifications,” she said.
Progress does not come without commitment, but for those with a will and the ambition, there is strong support.
“Thinking of my experience with North Yorkshire – it has been blooming good.”
Win a great prize with our myth-busting care career game
There has never been a more vital time to consider a career in care.
To help you discover the roles that could be available and learn more about the reality of a career in care, we’ve launched our mobile and desktop game, Myth Smash.
Myth Smash is a free and easy to play desktop/mobile game which promotes the wide variety of roles we have available in the care. The game also demystifies the stubborn myths that surround careers in social care.
Go on a journey with a range of unique characters as they discover their newfound careers in adult social care and help your new care professionals secure their place within the sector, by smashing myths and pairing your care professionals with the perfect person to support.
And while you’re playing, take your chance to win the great prize of a National Trust pass for one adult and their children or grandchildren. This will give you entry to the many wonderful National Trust properties across North Yorkshire and beyond.
For a chance to win, all you have to do is answer the simple question below. You can find the answer in the game.
This competition has now closed. Look out for other competitions in future editions of NY Now.