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When it comes to care work, it can be tricky to know what’s right for you in the beginning. However, there are loads of opportunities to learn, grow and shape your career. Take Ashleigh for example; she’s worked across a variety of different areas in care, gaining valuable experience and now she’s looking to study a degree in nursing. This is her story:

Hi, I’m Ashleigh.

I’m a care worker at a nursing home. I’ve been here for almost 3 years, giving care and support to older people. My favourite aspect of the job is that I’ve got to know each resident as an individual and I think that’s incredibly important when it comes to care. They all have different personalities with different needs. We enable every resident to make their own decisions, so we can provide care centred around each of them, individually.

Studying fits perfectly into my life.

I studied for my Health and Social Care Level 3 qualification alongside my job. I completed the course just over a year ago. I’m now doing an access course in nursing, midwifery and medical sciences. This is a part-time course that can be completed over two years. Once I’ve completed this I can go on to do a nursing degree, (that’s what I really want to do!) I can also study for this alongside my work, which is amazing!

The study, training and support offered has been incredible and I have learnt so much already. I’ve completed my annual training on moving and handling and have recently finished a course in influenza and diabetes. This sort of training ensures that I’m aware of the common medical issues that can arise in care. I have found that studying is easy to fit around my work. When I was doing my Level 3 qualification, my assessors came in and checked my objectives and tasks with me during the work day, and I was able to complete my assignments in my own time.

It opens your mind.

You can learn a lot about yourself working in care. For me, I feel like I’ve gained confidence from talking to people and pushing myself. I was a bit worried about working in personal care before, especially washing people. I didn’t know what to expect from people in those situations and I was worried about what they would say or think. Now though, I realise it’s all about time. Once you’ve built a relationship with somebody and they get to know you and trust you – it just becomes second nature.

In my role I work with a fantastic team of people from all kinds of diverse backgrounds, it’s lovely to have a team formed of people from all around the world. It’s also very rewarding to be able to build relationships with each of the residents; to hear their histories and stories. It really opens your mind to other walks of life and to look at your own options.

There are so many opportunities in care and health and different paths that I could take. I worked for an agency before I came here and I’ve worked in hospitals, in mental health and disability. Now I’m getting ready to study for my degree. So, if you’re thinking about a career in care and health, I’d say keep your mind open, you don’t necessarily know what the best path is for you until you try.

If you are interested in starting a career in care and health, search current job vacancies.