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Amanda’s career journey in care

Amanda Griffiths began her career in care as a student nurse at the age of 18. It’s not a career that she had considered at that time. Due to the recession in the 80’s, she was looking for a job and was happy to take on any job. After a conversation with a friend, and a leap of faith, Amanda began her first shift as a young student nurse in December 1982.

Fast forward to today, over 30 years later, Amanda is the Quality Director at Voyage Care. We spoke to Amanda about her career in care.

How did you become a student nurse?

“In the early 80’s unemployment was high, and I was unsure what I would do in terms of work. This was when I was offered a place as a student nurse by a family friend. No interview, nothing. I hadn’t even stepped foot into the hospital until the day my training started. But the day I arrived, it felt like I had put my slippers on. It was comfortable and clearly what I should be doing.”

What did you learn as a nurse? 

“I learned that all people have the potential to be fragile and need support or care from other people. More importantly I gained (and am still learning) an awareness that what is needed most is empathy, not sympathy.”

What made you move into social care sector?

“I left the NHS in 1988 where I was working very happily with older people. However, the very premature birth of my first son and his need for surgery meant I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to day time working.”

“So, I just went and knocked on the door of the nearest nursing home to ask if they had any jobs. And four hours later I returned to take charge of the first shift.”

How has the social care sector changed over the years?

“The increased volume of requirements, health and safety checks, plus care and support plans have helped to shape a more person-centred approach. The regulators and their requirements have changed significantly and regularly over the years. Sometimes, it can be thought that providing care is more about checks, controls, health and safety and regulation. However, it is important to make these underpinning requirements part of the basics and then for teams to focus on providing outstanding person-centred care. And I know we do this really well at Voyage Care.”

What advice would you give to someone considering a job in social care?

“Being a carer does not have to be just a job. It is an opportunity to build positive relationships with other people, such as those you are supporting, your colleagues and other health and social care professionals. Everyone needs an element of literacy and numeracy skills, but we are fortunate at Voyage Care that this is an area where we can support staff.”

“There are development opportunities within social care too and many of our senior managers will have started their working life as a support worker. There is an excellent qualifications framework which can supplement your natural skills and attributes and you can progress with increasing levels of these qualifications.”

“It doesn’t matter what age or sex you are, there will always be a job in social care for you. Even if a person has no previous qualifications, the induction process for everyone is robust and covers everything a new person needs. However, you do need to be reliable and able to work under pressure because supporting people means that for your working shift, they are your priority.”

You can start your journey to building your career in care. We have a range of training courses to give you the skills and knowledge to thrive in your role. Start by having a look at vacancies near you.