All of our team members have had a different journey through the care sector which has led them to ND Care & Support. Laura Farmer has been the Administrator in our Cardiff branch for 3 years now. Find out all about her role and why she loves to care.
Do you have a background in care work? Can you tell us more about your career journey so far?
I have been in the care industry for 12 years now, since the age of 17. I started working as a Carer part-time in a nursing home while I studied in college. Then I became a Coordinator for a care company when I was 18, which I did for 4 years. It was here that I gained my qualifications, including Level 2 in Business Administration and Social Care and Health. I gained a lot of experience whilst I was there, which was where my career in the care sector really kicked off.
What does a day in your role look like?
A day in my role starts with checking my emails and look at my diary for the day. From that point onwards, I deal with pay, invoicing, recruitment, auditing, ordering stationery and uniform, booking people onto training courses, sending DBS links and references. I also deal a lot with candidates’ files, making sure they have a file that would pass an inspection by the Care Inspectorate Wales.
Planning for the week ahead of me is crucial, as my diary is planned around training weeks and recruitment days and it fills up extremely quickly!
What key skills are required to do your job?
- Organisation is key!
- Time management
- Good verbal and written communication
- Strategic planning
What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
What I enjoy most about my job is helping people find work and getting them through the recruitment process as fast as possible so they can make a positive contribution to the care sector. I enjoy being organised within my role. For my admin job, it is crucial to make sure that I put as much attention to detail into my work as possible. This is also my biggest strength.
What day-to-day challenges do you face in your role?
I have a few challenges in my role, such as communication issues. If I am not kept up-to-date on aspects like a change of hours for service users and pay, then invoicing and pay errors can occur. This is something we like to avoid at all costs, but unfortunately, mistakes can happen. Communication is key within ND Care & Support, so it is a challenge that I meet head-on every day.
What challenges does the wider care sector face? How do you feel you are making a difference to this?
Trying to get people signed up to Social Care Wales by 2020 is an issue at the moment because if carers aren’t signed up by 2020, they will no longer be able to work in care until they are! This is something we want to avoid at all costs, so we have put on Social Care Wales sign-up days to encourage people to sign-up and to give them support in doing so.
Within the care sector, many companies only provide zero-hours contracts and this can be a problem for many Carers who want guaranteed hours and work stability. We are happy to say that this isn’t the case for ND Care & Support, as we now provide contracts for our Carers.
Also, as the cost of living is going up, Carers wages are unfortunately not as the Local Authority will not change the rates of pay to care companies. This is a big problem across the sector because pay is the reason why some people choose not to come into the industry, as it would mean that they cannot afford to live unless they work a lot of hours. This can be off-putting, but we are proud to offer good rates of pay to our Carers, making a career in caring more feasible and rewarding.
Why do you ‘care’? Why is ND Care & Support important to you?
ND Care & support is important to me as I have been in the industry for 12 years now – that’s a big part of my life! I started caring at the age of 17 in a residential home to earn some money while I was in college, and I liked it so much that I haven’t left the industry since. I think that says a lot about how rewarding a career in the care sector can be.
What advice would you give to candidates who want to go into care work?
I would advise you to come into the care sector with an open mind. If you’re a caring person, then the job will come to you naturally. It can be challenging at times, but the positives greatly outweigh the negatives and it is a very rewarding career choice that I’d highly recommend for job satisfaction.
What is your proudest moment in work and why?
Personally, I’m really proud of being recognised by other departments for doing a good job. This is very important to me, as having a good network of people in our company to go to for support and advice can help me with knowledge of how their department works too. Building strong professional relationships is a crucial part of caring!
Laura’s story shows that every Carer’s journey begins differently, but caring is certainly a career full of reward. Find out more about a career in care by contacting us today. Stay tuned to meet more of the ND Care & Support team soon…