Introducing Sarah Harding, the Recruitment Officer for ND Care & Support, who is responsible for recruiting care staff for all our branches, with offices in Abertillery, Cardiff and Cross Hands. She has worked for New Directions for just over three and a half years and has been in her current post since January this year.
Do you have a background in care work? Can you tell us more about your career journey so far?
Prior to the death of my mum, I had never even considered care work or even really realised what people do to ensure that those who are disabled or elderly can remain at home. During my mum’s illness, I needed extra support as I was finishing my degree and trying to take care of her on my own. Our role reversal was really stressful and upsetting, but having the extra support really helped during what was the most difficult time in my life.
After she passed, I wanted to give something back and somehow turn my experience into a positive one. I began caring, with no experience other than my personal journey with mum. I spent some months meeting new people and providing care to them within their own home. Some were young, some were elderly, but each of them had different needs and I could see that my presence made a difference to them. I later worked as a Personal Assistant for a lady. Working with one person specifically meant that I could experience another side of the Carer role until I went on maternity leave.
What does a day in your role look like?
As Recruitment Officer, each day brings different tasks to be completed. I set myself a list to be completed each day and work my way through them. A day in my role can mean attending meetings; speaking with prospective individuals to come and work for us and arranging their interviews; or attending recruitment events, meeting people looking for work and discussing the opportunities that are available with ND Care & Support.
What key skills are required to do your job?
The key skills that are relevant to my current role but can also be applied to a care role are:
- Organisational skills
- Good communication
- Ability to adapt to change
- An eye for detail
What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
I enjoy making improvements to how we do things, ensuring that we are as efficient as possible. I like to be sure that people who register to work with us have a positive and well-informed registration experience, so that they are ready to start working with us in the community and support individuals to live as independently as possible.
What day-to-day challenges do you face in your role?
Each day can bring a number of challenges, but my main challenge is finding the right people to join our team. I need to find people who can be there to support those in our communities who need it most, enabling them to stay at home in their own environment, and ensuring their comfort and happiness are promoted and supported.
What challenges does the wider care sector face? How do you feel you are making a difference to this?
The care sector is facing an increase in the number of people who require our services, as people are living longer and there is more choice available in how that care is received. More people want to stay at home – wouldn’t we all, if we needed care and support?
We work closely with others in the healthcare sector and provide the care that individuals need, promoting their choice and independence. Above all, we ensure that, despite their situation, we are making our clients as happy as we can.
What is your proudest moment in work or your greatest achievement in your career and why?
To date, my proudest moments include achieving my Law degree and completing my Business Administration Level 4 NVQ. I am able to apply the skills and knowledge I have learned at work, developing new ways of making improvements to efficiency, to show others new skills and help them develop and make a difference.
What advice would you give to candidates who want to go into care work?
Firstly, I think for anyone to go into the care sector, they need to be passionate about helping others and remember why we do what we do for people in the community – to support them to stay at home where they feel they belong and where they are most comfortable.
Secondly, you need to be open to any new training or situation you may face. Everyone’s situation or needs may vary and you have to be able to adapt to each case.
Lastly, I’d advise you to join a company that recognises your hard work and supports you to develop within your role. This is crucial as you need to feel valued and appreciated for what you do!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself
Despite appearances, I have a blue belt in Tae-Kwon-Do and very much enjoyed training and taking part in demonstrations.
What is your favourite quote and why?
“Do the right thing, do the best you can and always show people you care”
This is my favourite quote because it encourages you to take a step back and look at a situation before making the right decision about it. It gives you strength to achieve and do well for yourself in any situation, even the bad ones. Also, to always show others you care shows that you’re a good person. Despite your situation or theirs, kindness can make all the difference!
Thanks for your words of wisdom and advice, Sarah! Join us again soon to meet more members of the ND Care & Support family in our Meet the Team Q&A blog series…