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Devotion and determination drives Vicki’s success!

Vicki Bennett is living proof that with hard work, devotion, and determination, you can drive your career in any direction and achieve every goal you set.

Before joining us in 2009, at just 20 years old, Vicki had left school with no GCSEs. Walking away from a cookie-cutter course of education, her career path wasn’t clear, and her future felt uncertain.

One thing was certain however, Vicki wanted to work in a person-centred role that would make use of her warm personality and flair for problem-solving. She went on to complete a diploma in hairdressing and beauty therapy.

Indulging her sociable personality and ability to think outside the box, Vicki got her first beauty job and started writing the first chapter of her career story. Yet there was something was missing. Even though she loved the glamour of beauty and hairdressing, her soul craved more.

A purpose-driven person, she tuned into her instincts and set on a course of self-discovery. But just as she turned the first page of this chapter, tragedy struck.

Still working as a hairdresser, her beloved dad suddenly suffered a brain injury, causing both Vicki’s life, and her career to take an unexpected turn…


Heart’s true calling

After sustaining his brain injury, Vicki’s dad was hospitalised for three months. Faithfully by his side, Vicki devoted every spare minute to supporting him through his recovery. It was through this lived experience Vicki uncovered her heart’s true calling.

Vicki didn’t just want to work with people, she wanted to help them.

With a deep desire to support those living through unexpected trauma, just like she and her dad were, Vicki decided to pursue a career in healthcare, following a keen interest in A&E nursing.

She took the first step to making her dream a reality by applying for an access to learning course, only to be faced with her first hurdle – she was turned down.

Because she didn’t have any GCSEs or previous experience in the sector, Vicki was encouraged to gain some work experience and reapply for the course the following year. Confronted with uncertainty, and still supporting her dad through his rehab, Vicki revaluated what she wanted for her future.

Driven by devotion

Vicki played an active role in supporting him after he was discharged from hospital. Helping him along his rehabilitation pathway gave her a sense of fulfilment she’d never felt before. Quickly, Vicki knew she wanted to continue supporting people with brain injuries as a career. 

"Being a Support Worker is precious and being an enabling Support Worker, like in brain injury rehab, is something everyone should experience at least once. Seeing people achieve for themselves and knowing you've made a difference to them makes it all worthwhile." Vicki Bennett, Brain Injury Rehabilitation Operations Director.

With her compassion and support, Vicki’s dad thrived, cementing her career decision further. But her previous encounter with the sector meant she knew she needed to gain some experience if she was to mould a new career in brain injury rehabilitation.

Vicki came across the perfect opportunity when she discovered a vacancy for a Support Worker at Woodlands, one of our specialist brain injury services in Middlesborough. As if destined to work in this sector, Vicki bowled over the Service Manager and was offered the position on the spot!

Making moves

On her first day at Woodlands, Vicki was determined to make a positive impression. Fresh out of the beauty industry, she took pride in her appearance and arrived at the service with pristine hair and her best pair of power-stilettoes!

Quickly, Vicki was asked to go home and get changed. Returning to the service, this time kitted out in flat shoes and comfy clothes, Vicki began to understand exactly why she had to change! Her new Support Worker role was physically demanding in a way she’d not experienced before. It was fast-paced and hands-on, but Vicki loved it!

“That evening, I was asked to get involved with cooking dinner. I started to get out the vegetables and my manager stopped me. She told me we don’t cook dinner; we support people to cook dinner for themselves. Afterwards, I helped with getting one individual ready for bed and saw a hoist for the first time. It was overwhelming – seeing someone being moved with machinery. I quickly realised this was just one small part of their bigger picture. The next night, I saw them brush their teeth and put on their pyjamas. They were empowered with independence – they just needed help getting into bed. They were ok with that, so I was too.”

~ Vicki Bennett, Brain Injuries Operations Director

After only a few hours, Vicki knew this role was for her. Seeing the people we support maintaining, reaching and even over-stretching goals – just like her dad had – reassured her she’d made the right move.

With commitment and compassion, Vicki spent the next few months playing an instrumental role in reshaping the lives of the people we support at Woodlands.

Supporting them to navigate highs and lows, Vicki was there for many significant moments – as they relearned to walk or make a cup of tea for the first time. Being a Support Worker gave Vicki a feeling she couldn’t explain, but she knew she was part of something truly special.

Drive and determination

Gaining confidence in her new role, Vicki picked up extra shifts at Woodlands. Her passion for the people we support drove her ambitions. So when a Senior Support Worker position became available, Vicki went for it with all her heart.

Unsuccessful on this occasion, Vicki’s manager supported her with valuable feedback, reassuring her this role wasn’t out of her reach. With a few more months experience, she would be ready for the next step.

Vicki wasn’t disheartened. Inspired by her manager’s encouraging words and supportive spirit, she invested even more passion into her role.

Blossoming as a Support Worker, Vicki was soon entrusted with leading shifts. With this, she achieved her first goal: working with us full-time. This opened valuable opportunities for her. She was able to commit more time to studying on specialist, in-depth training courses, learning about rehabilitation theories and the therapies we offer to the people we support.

Working on night shifts, Vicki maximised her time and identified an opportunity to dedicate time to studying. And when she returned to day shifts, she found the expertly designed courses empowered her with more confidence in the support she was giving.

Laying groundwork

In less than a year, Vicki was soaring in her role. When a second Senior Support Worker role came up, her dedication, specialist training and support from her colleagues paid off – Vicki was promoted!

Continuing to pursue additional training opportunities while in her Senior Support Worker position, Vicki completed training as a Non-Violence Crisis Intervention (NCVI) instructor. She impressed her trainer so much she was enlisted to train teams at our other services across the country!

When I started as a Support Worker, I was told how good Voyage Care are for progressing people. My manager at the time told me that, in a few years' time, I could be an Operations Manager. Those words stuck with me and gave me a goal to work towards." Vicki Bennett, Brain Injury Rehabilitation Operations Director.

Vicki’s role as a Senior Support Worker lasted only three months, as Vicki was presented with her next career move –  a Deputy Manager position opened. Applying to simply gain more interview experience, Vicki was keen to discover the areas of her role she needed to develop, so she could progress to Deputy Manager in the future. But to her delight, Vicki got the job!

While Deputy Manager at Woodlands, Vicki was supported to complete a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership & Management. All the pieces of her career puzzle were falling into place. With a supportive team rooting for her, Vicki was rewriting the story of her future and had a promising career ahead of her.

Unexpected opportunities

In December 2012, Vicki’s career took an unexpected turn when she was approached to temporarily join the Voyage Care Quality Team. Bidding a brief farewell to brain injury rehabilitation, she ventured into a secondment in Quality Assurance, where she stayed for eleven months.

Once her term with our Quality Team ended, Vicki didn’t return to working in a service. Instead, she migrated her skills into another area of our business. In November 2013, she took the position of Regional Service Manager in the Central West region. This large area covered Dover to Newcastle, and Vicki was instrumental in supporting many services with training new team members and ensuring the services met high standards of support. Without her initial experience working in a service, Vicki wouldn’t have been able to do this role.

Understanding the people we support and our specialist approach to brain injury rehabilitation gave Vicki the knowledge needed to evolve and flourish as a Regional Service Manager.

Fuelling success

Throughout her journey, Vicki held close to her heart the words of her first Manager: one day, she could be an Operations Manager.

When the opportunity came up, Vicki applied for a temporary Operations Manager position. Unsuccessful, she kept believing, knowing that with continuous support from her new manager, the goal was still in sight.

And in April 2016, she was given the opportunity to gain experience as a Deputy Operations Manager. Gifted with a portfolio of her own, Vicki was taken under the wing of our Operations team – and she thrived!

Overseeing the daily running of services in her portfolio, and ensuring positive outcomes for the people we support, all of Vicki’s previous experience and training fuelled her success in this new role.

As soon as the opportunity became available, she applied for a brain injury Operations Manager position and this time, she was successful!

Expanding experience

After a couple of years away from our brain injury services, Vicki was now back on board. Even though she enjoyed working across the wider Voyage Care portfolio, as soon as she returned to our brain injuries rehabilitation team, she felt like she’d arrived home.

In this role, we supported Vicki to achieve even bigger goals – she enrolled at university! Vicki completed her degree in Chartered Management and, always aiming for more, was crowned Operations Manager of the Year at the Voyage Excellence Awards in 2021!

By November 2022, Vicki had achieved something even bigger. Not satisfied with just being an Operations Manager, she wanted to do even more for the people we support and took a big leap in her career. Soon, she was named as the new Operations Director for brain injury rehabilitation and Intensive Support Services (ISS)!

Lessons learned

Before Vicki became an Operations Director, she’d worked in almost every field role available at Voyage Care. From starting her career journey as a part-time Support Worker, to earning a position as Deputy Manager, Vicki has achieved a lot in a short space of time.

Alongside the support of her teams over the years, gritty determination and unrivalled dedication to her roles, Vicki credits her growth to the people we support.

“They taught me about life. I was still living at home with my parents when I started working with Voyage Care. I didn’t do much for myself. The job gave me independence and the people we support taught me things I didn’t have an opportunity to learn before. They came from a variety of backgrounds with different interests. I learned how to fish with one gentleman and even how to get a good deal on a mortgage from another person – who used to be a financial advisor.”

I wouldn't have gained the knowledge and skills I've got now without working directly with the people we support. Education couldn't have prepared me for the big wide world, but being a Support Worker did. Vicki Bennett, Brain Injury Rehabilitation Operations Director.

Learn more about our roles!

Inspired by Vicki’s incredible career journey? We have a wide range of career opportunities across the UK. If you’re interested in a care role, search and apply for jobs in your area and begin your new chapter today.