Social care: Case studies

Real stories from real people

Catherine's story

What kinds of roles are there in social care?

"There’s day care, there’s night care, senior relief officer, manager and assistant manager, but then you can go on as well to do nursing, occupational health, it just opens out other branches for you doesn’t it?

There’s availability to do QCF which is work based courses with colleagues, so you’re able to do it whilst working. Not many people like to go to college and people like to earn a living, so there are opportunities for people to do it like that.

There’s induction training and Denbighshire offer a wide range of training opportunities. At the moment, most of the training is done on Zoom due to the pandemic. There are opportunities to do Level 2, Level 3 and I think Level 4 is coming back out and there the Level 5 as well in health and social care."

What was your personal journey?

"I started working here at Cysgod twenty three years ago on the supply to begin with. Then I had a contract as a day care assistant, then went on to do senior care, then relief officer and now as assistant manager. It’s been progression over the years."

Have there been a lot of changes?

"Some staff have been and gone because they’ve moved on to do nursing and social work. Others have left to work elsewhere or gone through retirement, but many of the staff that are here have have been around since I started here - so for many years."

Best things about working in social care:

"The hours, the flexibility. I’ve been fortunate due to family support as well. I was able to work and bring up my kids. I don’t think I’ve missed out on my children’s growing up. I’ve been there on a Saturday morning watching a football match, and childcare was easier to juggle as well because of the shift work.

There has been changes over the years, there is more paperwork but I think it’s for the better. It’s more person centred."

Advice for future social care workers:

"Apply, give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose. If you like working around people, you have a caring nature then I would say give it a go."

Kendal's story

"When I left school at 16 I decided to take a health and social care course, BTEC Level 3 in college. After that I went straight into domiciliary care.

Now I supervise the staff. I’m senior here at Gorwel Newydd extra care housing here in Rhyl and basically its people live here in their own contained apartments. Denbighshire provide the care and support if needed and we work with Clwyd Alyn on the housing side of things. If they need the help we’re here, but most people can live independently.

We've got a dining room, rest room, hairdressers and a hobbies room down stairs. And we host different events, most recently we hosted a cheese and wine evening for Valentine’s Day.

My job entails supervisions, managing the day to day of the staff really but I’m also hands on if needs be.

Before Gorwel Newydd I was a health and social care support worker in the community, supporting the district nurses.

It's really rewarding and the main thing is that no two days are the same. It’s not like thinking I’ve got to go to work today - you simply don’t know what’s going to happen from day to day.

None of my family have worked in social care but I used to look after my nan and grandad and I spent a lot of time caring for them, enjoyed it and found it very interesting."

"I'd say go for it - it's very rewarding and flexible. You can work around family, you may have other family life commitments that you can work it around. The benefits are the training, the progression. Working in social care you can go all the way if you want to."

"I've got a young family and it’s worked well because I’ve been able to work around them so it has worked very well.

I'm happy with what I’m doing, gaining experience but I would like to go further in the future.

You make a difference to people’s lives, support them with daily tasks, creating independence and encourage them to do what they can themselves. A lot of the people I work with are keen to engage.

I was shocked really when I got this job but I’m so grateful for the opportunity that Denbighshire has given me really, being able to progress."

Kira's story

"I started when I left school. I went to college in Wrexham to study health and social care Level 3. A part of the course we had to do a placement and I decided to come to Cysgod y Gaer residential care home.

Then after Covid hit I had to stop. On my second year I was not allowed to do a placement because of Covid but I would have definitely have come back to Cysgod y Gaer.

Then after finishing college I decided I wanted to go to university to study childhood and youth studies but I decided I didn’t like it and came back to work in Cysgod y Gaer. I’ve been here for eight months now.

My role as a care assistant is to look after other people’s family members, personal care, looking after residents, being there for them and helping them with whatever they need."

"I love speaking to the residents and getting to know their pasts, getting to know their families and I like it when their families come to visit and they compliment you, say how much of a good worker you are. It gives you a boost of confidence."

"People are mostly happy, they can change but mostly they’re very happy. I’d like to continue as a care assistant but we’ll have to wait and see.

My advice for people out there thinking of going into social care is to go for it. I really love my job. I wouldn’t change a thing. Definitely go for it. It’s such an amazing, rewarding job."

Les' story

"Quite a few years ago my mother in law became quite ill and at the time I wasn’t working and I was the main carer for her and at the end of that she made a virtual full recovery. And difficult though it was looking after a family member, it was something I actually really enjoyed doing and thought I might look into doing this on a more permanent basis. So from then on I got a job in care. I’ve done some psychiatric rehab and then ended up working in a care home. I’ve been here and loved it ever since and I would say to anybody that was thinking about it that if you wanted to work in an environment that is so much like a kind and caring home, go for it!

Everybody that works here is of a caring nature and the people that we support just need help from time to time. In all the jobs that I’ve had I’ve never had a job where I’ve been thanked on a daily basis by basically everyone that I’ve been in contact with, to say “thanks for that”. And afterwards, I get paid for doing this and people are thanking me for doing my job. It’s probably the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I’ve never had a day when I’ve got up in the morning and thought – I need to go into work today., what am I going to face today - you get up in the morning, you get ready to come into work and I have a ball every day. I’ve always had my little mantra - whoever I work with, whoever I come into contact with on that day - will smile and laugh at least once and in the years that I’ve been doing the job, I’ve never failed to do that. It’s just fantastic.

There are people that don’t have family as such, they have friends that cannot get here all the time. I can’t say I would take them under my wing, they would take me under their wing. We are their only contact, so why would you not come in with a smile on your face and talk to them. And I talk to them like friends, obviously with respect as there is an age difference but it’s just lovely to talk to them. It’s lovely to see them laugh and I think: what can we talk about today?

I'm not going to move from my job, this is my job for the rest of my days, so bring it on!

I just have a giggle every day. If someone wants a job where they can enjoy themselves, make a difference to people and get paid, get into social care. You can’t beat it."

Sheila's story

"I've always done this kind of work. I’ve worked with mentally ill people - I’ve done that for a while. I’ve also worked with nursery children, then I was out of work for a couple of months because the nursery decided to close.

I got a job in a school as a dinner lady then cleaning and someone mentioned they needed staff in Dolwen. So I came over to Dolwen and started off as a domestic, cleaning and helping out in the kitchen when they were short staffed. I wanted to be carer but I knew I had to do my NVQ. I’m not very good when it comes to paperwork – I get myself flustered but I was determined to do my NVQ as I knew I needed it.

I felt very proud of myself I managed to do my NVQ. I had two lovely ladies that helped me with my way through., They were there providing support when I needed them. I came on to care then and never looked back. I’ve been on care roughly 10 years if not a bit more.

I love it. I think it’s a fantastic job. It’s also very rewarding to do. And it’s a privilege knowing you might have helped somebody. You do get quite a bit out of it. There are days when you get sad days. Sadly some people get really poorly and there might be somebody that has to go to another home because their needs change, so they need more care again. You do get attached to them - you can’t help it because at the end of the day they're like your family. If you come into work you treat them as if you would your own mum and dad or your own aunties.

I would say come in, try it to see how you like it but I’m sure when you’ve been here a few days you’ll grow to love it. It’s such a warm, friendly place. We all work together and there are days when you do get upset, especially if you’ve been caring for a certain client and they do become ill and some do move on elsewhere because of their needs. But we work together as a team, there’s always someone to talk to - other staff or the manager."