My name is Beth Cunliffe and I am an Operational Manager for Local Solutions’ Homecare. I’ve always been passionate about supporting people and wanted my job to reflect that. That’s why I started and have continued my career in the care sector.
My career started when I was 17. I was studying Health and Social Care at college. Although I knew I wanted to find a job supporting people there was such a variety of options I was unsure of which path to take.
To gain a better understanding of what would suit me, I started a job as a Care Support Worker. I soon figured out that, for me the practical hands on experience I was incredible valuable so decided to take the role up full time.
I was a Care Support Worker for 4 years. During this time, I took every opportunity to learn more and gain new skills. This included shadowing more senior members of staff, obtaining diplomas and assisting other members of the wider team, often volunteering my own time to get the opportunity to do so. It was the experience I gained that helped me decide on my next step – to become a Team Leader.
This next step in the Team Leader role was invaluable in terms of experience of managing a team to provide high standards of care. Part of the role introduced me to the area of health and safety in the care sector. This was a very interesting part of the role, and I knew I had to learn more.
My next step was into the role of Care Assessor which requires assessing people’s care needs and developing support plans. In this new position I had the chance to see a completely different side to the care sector and helped me truly understand the many different areas of work that all fit together to provide a quality service for people needing care and support.
I think the knowledge I gained of many different areas of the care sector, along with some additional training provided me with the outlook, skills and experience I needed to move into the post I am in now - Operational Manager for the Sefton, Knowsley and St. Helens service for Local Solutions.
I was recently asked what advice I would give to someone starting their career in care. The best way I know how to do that is to talk about what worked for me:
I set myself some goals for my career and stayed motivated by breaking down my goals down into smaller achievable steps. I would say to grasp any opportunity that comes your way and to not be shy about wanting to take on new challenges. In my experience senior colleagues will appreciate and be responsive to people who know that they want to progress and are ambitious and will help you to make progress towards your goals.
If I could sum up my advice for someone starting a career in care, it would be: the point of care is to support people, so if you focus on that, taking the opportunities to improve on how you do that, you can’t go wrong.