Two women posing for the camera. The woman on the left is wearing a medal and is holding a certificate.

Sian is a part-time assistant manager for Choices 4 Life, a personal assistant provider and daytime opportunities service in Coalville. Sian began working as a personal assistant and has since been promoted to a management position. Sian has used the experience and skills that she has gained through her care roles to enable her to start training to become a social worker.

We interviewed Sian to hear her story...

Tell us about your journey into a career in care...

I originally wanted to become an Educational Psychologist following the completion of my degree in Psychology. I came across the job of being a Personal Assistant (PA) for Choices for Life and thought this would be a good opportunity to gain experience working for adults with learning disabilities. I had limited experience in the field so in my interview I focussed on areas such as my transferable skills, attitude and values. Having now sat in on interviews, I understand the importance of such skills in comparison to specific qualifications. My first role as a PA consisted of picking a client up from their house and assisting them to access the community. This meant that every day was different. Activities including caring for horses, playing football, volunteering in a shop and swimming.

What does your typical day at work involve?

I am currently a part-time Assistant Manager at Choices for Life. I worked my way up into this role; progressing first from a PA into a Team Leader and then into my current role. The role is varied and dependent on the needs of the company at the time. I have just finished updating the policies and procedures which involves researching legislation, guidelines and good practice. I have assisted in the implementation of Leicestershire County Council's policies, such as client outcomes and quarterly monitoring. I am trusted to identify areas for improvement and create a plan of action accordingly.

What is your favourite thing about your role?

My favourite thing about working in adult social care is tailoring my role to suit the interests of the client. Adult social care is a creative environment, where staff and clients can influence the daily activities meaning no two days are the same. It feels great to empower clients and assist them in whatever goals that want to achieve.

What have you gained through your experience of working in care?

Working in social care has given me a great sense of purpose and cemented my career choice. I have worked in an environment that has encouraged career progression and this has led to me wanting to become a Social Worker. I am currently completing a MA in Social Work and working for Choices for Life has given me the experience needed to apply for the course and feel confident in my ability to complete my degree.

What advice would you give to people who are considering a career in care?

Having the right values and attitude towards working in care and the clients you would be working with is essential and more important than your level of experience when starting a career in care. How would you want to be supported if you had care and support needs? Do you think you could provide that support? If you think you could, go for it. If you feel you lack the experience or confidence, ask to volunteer. Show the company your willingness to learn and commitment to reaching your potential.

Career timeline

2017 - present

Assistant manager at Choices 4 Life - daytime opportunities service for adults with learning disabilities

2017

Started MA Social Work course

2016 - 2017

Volunteer - Childline

2015 - 2017

Team leader at Choices 4 Life - daytime opportunities service for adults with learning disabilities

2013 - 2015

Personal assistant at Choices 4 Life - daytime opportunities service for adults with learning disabilities

2012 - 2013

Work experience - working in education with children with special educational needs

2012

BSc Psychology

2007 - 2009

A-levels in Psychology, Biology and Dance

2005 - 2007

GCSEs, including Health and Social Care

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience of working in care. You can find volunteering opportunities by contacting day services directly, or by speaking to organisations such as Voluntary Action Leicester.

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