Working in care in a support role can be challenging but a whole lot more rewarding!
We’ve been chatting to our team about why they chose social and support care work in the first place, why it’s the best decision they have ever made and what it really means to help people achieve their goals.
Here’s an interview with our Care and Support Manager, Tom B.
CMKC: What attracted you to work in social care?
TB: I started like many of the co-workers at Camphill as an international volunteer in the USA. I had different plans for my life up until then but found the experience of working with adults/children with learning disabilities so rewarding that I changed my career plans and started as a Support Worker a couple of years after finishing University. I haven’t looked back since!
CMKC: What do you like about social care?
TB: It’s meaningful, varied and vital work. Initially, I loved just helping people on a day-to-day basis to develop their independence. Eventually, I started to enjoy writing care plans, managing staff and improving services for multiple people. I love designing care and support which has a real impact on the lives of others and gives them an opportunity to thrive.
CMKC: What do you find most rewarding working in social care?
TB: I love the human element of my work. I like to contemplate moral and ethical issues (which come up a lot!) and challenge the way that we think about those living with disabilities. I think it makes us more rounded people.
CMKC: What is your typical day like at Camphill?
TB: Busy! I am based in the office and manage the care and support staff, oversee the support provided to our residents, as well as managing the timetable. I work with residents and families to discuss issues and spend a lot of time planning for the future. I love working at Camphill MK because I have the freedom to develop and evolve the care and support we provide all the time, and I’m excited about our future. One minute I’m writing a business proposal and the next minute I’m in one of the houses cutting up a haggis. It really is a varied and fascinating job.
CMKC: What’s your most memorable experience working in Camphill/social care?
TB: I’ve had some very memorable experiences. As an 18-year-old in a foreign country I remember receiving 4 hours of training after landing and then being left to manage a cabin full of disabled children! I would later go on to work in a variety of different places and had both massively positive experiences and challenging ones. I always especially loved putting on shows and ceremonies to celebrate the lives of residents. I tend to remember the small things that were big achievements, like helping somebody to do something for the first time. At Camphill, my favourite experience was visiting for the first time and feeling overwhelmingly like I’d found my “home”.
CMKC: What do you hope to achieve working in Camphill/Social care?
TB: I started as a Support Worker in 2009 and have worked through various jobs including area management, CQC Inspection and managing a large dementia home. I feel like I’ve achieved a lot already when I think about the people I’ve worked with and those whom I’ve supported because, in some way, however small, I like to think I helped them. On that level, I simply want to make sure that I’m always able to do that. On a personal level, the sky is the limit; I’m always looking for the next step.
CMKC: What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in Camphill /social care?
TB: I didn’t do well at school and didn’t have any suitable qualifications other than those I’ve gained through social care. I didn’t always make good decisions or think much about other people before I began my career in this sector. Working in care changed the entire course of my life. It’s how I started taking responsibility, met my wife, and was able to develop a career which has been both rewarding and life-affirming. I think it forces you to become a better person because you’re always thinking about how to make other people’s lives better. There are so many jobs in the World today that produce nothing and serve nobody. I talk to many people who hate their jobs and feel trapped because they are simply tasked with generating wealth for somebody else. At Camphill, you can always see the product and effect of your work. Whether that’s a smile on somebody’s face or something somebody has made in one of our workshops. It’s deeper than just work; it positively changes the world… even just the small things. I’ve never regretted doing it for a minute, and I always urge others to consider it. We need good people in care and support work, and a kind heart really is the only necessary qualification.