Ashleigh sitting on sofa with client

When it comes to care work, it can be tricky to know what’s right for you at the start. The great thing is you have loads of options to learn and grow and shape the career you’re looking for. Take Ashleigh for example; she’s worked across a variety of different areas in care to build on her experience and now she’s looking to study a degree in nursing. This is her story:

I’m a care worker at a nursing home. I’ve been here for almost 3 years, supporting older people. I get to know each resident as an individual; they all have different personalities with different needs. We give every resident choices all the time which is so important, so we can provide care centred around each of them individually.

Alongside my role I was able to study for my Health and Social Care Level 3 qualification, which I completed just over a year ago. I am now doing an access course in nursing, midwifery and medical sciences, this is a part time course over two years and I’m now in my second year. When I complete this I can do a nursing degree, which is what I really want, and I can study for this alongside my work, which is amazing. The training and support has been incredible so far and there’s so much you can learn. For example, I’ve completed training on moving and handling, which is updated every year, and one about influenza and diabetes, so that I’m aware of some of the medical issues that can arise in care.

I find studying is fairly easy to fit around work. When I was doing my Level 3 qualification my assessors came in and checked my objectives and tasks with me at work, and I did my assignments in my own time at home.

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.