When I finished school, I went onto college to study a GNVQ in Health and Social Care. I knew I wanted to work in social care but I didn’t know what route I wanted to take. It was during a 2-week work experience placement that I decided to move into a Support Worker role. I absolutely loved my experience working with older people in a care home.
I worked weekends as a Care Assistant and successfully applied for a full-time position at the company once I had completed my studies. During my four years at the company, I progressed from Care Assistant to Lead Carer, and finally Customer Service Manager. I was able to gain a Diploma in Welfare Studies and City and Guilds Advance Management for Care qualifications.
After leaving the company, I became Deputy Manager for a home ran by a national organisation. Within five years, I had been promoted twice, firstly to Registered Home Manager, and then to Operations Manager. It was during this time that I was able to work with people with a learning disability across the country.
I completed further study which included a NVQ level 4 and 5 and a certificate in Management. Afterwards I moved on to become Divisional Director for a national charity, supporting people with a learning disability in my new role.
In 2014 I felt it was time for a change and I joined Thera East Anglia as Managing Director. I’m incredibly proud that during my time as Managing Director, our team has gone from strength to strength. Our organisation has won a regional Great British Care award and also achieved Outstanding CQC ratings, which has been incredible recognition for our commitment teams.
More recently, I was nominated by my colleagues in Thera East Anglia for the New Year’s Honours List and will receive an MBE for services to people with a learning disability. It was a complete shock to receive the letter and I accepted the award on behalf of everyone who works in Thera East Anglia and the wider Thera Group; the award would not be possible without the dedication, skill, and hard work of everyone I work with.
Whether you’re just leaving school or thinking about a career change, I hope people can be inspired by the fact you don’t need to have a university degree, or your career path completely figured out to move up the career ladder. It’s best to give things a try and see how you get on. Many companies, including Thera, offer excellent training and development and the sky is the limit for your progression. The most important thing is that you have a passion for helping people achieve their life goals and a willingness to listen to and learn from people.