At 24-7 Staffing we are very proud of our colleagues, not least the healthcare desk team who follow our motto of ‘perfectly placed people’ by matching carers to temporary roles and shifts that need filling.
One of our team has particular insight into what it takes to make a great recruiter and a great carer – because she does both!
Belinda Parker joined the healthcare team in our Salisbury office at the start of the year, after a long career working as a carer. Not only does she help to run our healthcare desk, she often takes care shifts herself. This isn’t just because they need filling but because she is passionate about the role.
So here is our Q&A with Belinda, which we hope will inspire anyone considering a career in care, or in recruitment, to take the plunge.
How did you get into care?
My Mum, Audrey Dean, has always worked in care, starting off as a support worker and then going up through the ranks to become a registered manager. She’s generally supported people with learning disabilities and we often had her clients with us on Christmas Day, or we’d go on day trips with them. It was all part of childhood.
When I left school, I went to college and studied childcare and education. My first job was with a school for autistic children, but I was only 19 myself and I wasn’t ready for that sort of role as it was very challenging. I then got a job as a teaching assistant in a special school where I worked for five years.
Next, I decided on teacher training, so took my teaching degree. Through all the time I was a TA and when I was doing my degree, I was still a bank carer, mainly supporting adults with learning difficulties, and also doing respite care at weekends for children with special needs.
When I finished my degree, instead of going on to complete my teacher training, I decided to concentrate on the care and became a team leader with Turning Point which offers a number of services, including supported living, which is the area I worked in.
Why did you move into recruitment?
I love caring and I never want to give that up – I have been supporting some of my clients for several years and I have really got to know them. However, I like to be busy and to challenge myself, so I decided to try recruitment.
I love being able to do both. It means I can be at the healthcare desk and help to fill the vacancies that come in, then I can often cover a Friday or weekend shift. There is never a shortage of vacancies, and we are always looking for qualified carers to enrol with us as candidates. I guess the beauty of being passionate about care work it that it’s easy to spot other people who are passionate too when I’m recruiting them for clients.
My Mum is one of my 24-7 Staffing clients now, as we help fill shifts and vacancies, she has at the supported living homes she manages. And she loves care too so is still very hands-on.
What do you love about care?
It is so rewarding: to see someone look and feel excited because I have arrived to help them, and to know they are going to have a really good day, is fantastic. They are like my extended family. Last Sunday, I was doing a shift through 24-7 Staffing and took the service user swimming, made a roast, had a trip around Tesco – we had a great day together.
As well as the care shifts I do through 24-7 Staffing, I have always carried on with the respite care too, which I very much enjoy.
What qualities does a carer need?
You have to have enthusiasm. It’s not an easy job, and it can be challenging, so you need to be able to remain upbeat.
A level of compassion is important. The clients can sometimes be challenging – for example, someone with dementia might get angry or lash out, so you always have to remember it’s not their fault, they are simply communicating. Patience is also important and the ability to give people the time they need and not to rush them.
If you like the sound of a career in care and want to find out more about options available and the training you need, please get in touch with the team here at 24-7 Staffing; we have offices in Chippenham, Bristol and Salisbury. If you are a qualified carer, you should check out our current vacancies.