Katie Tierney (34) works in Community Living Services at Capability Scotland and has two roles. As a support worker, she helps people in homes with all their basic needs. As a moving-in assistant, she helps new recruits come up-to-speed with their training as well as offering refresher training for any other employees.
“I was working in a factory before I got into social care, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I always wanted to work in social care but at my first interview I didn’t get a job and it knocked my confidence a bit. I waited until I was a bit older to re-apply and came across Capability Scotland and applied, I’ve been here nearly five years now.
“My days at work vary but I follow a usual system of visiting the people I care for in the morning and helping them with their morning routine. This might be helping them out of bed, helping them wash or change, or serving breakfast for them. I’ll also help some get ready for work. I usually work from ten a.m. until eight thirty with some breaks in between but I’ll manage to visit most people during the day.
“It’s a very rewarding career. You make people happy and it melts your heart to see how much your help means to them. You see people develop and improve every day and it’s great to know that you can have a positive impact on their lives.
“There are obviously challenges too. Some people don’t really want your support and want to stick to their own routine. They may not want advice and you need to think how to adapt to the situation and how you could help. You need to have a positive mindset and try and make things fun for them.
“We’ve been working with a man who suffered severe brain injuries. There are three of us working with him and we’ve managed to get him into a good routine now. He used to be a chef before his injury and we have helped to get him cooking again. It’s great to see him enjoying preparing meals for himself again. He’s back into a positive routine every day and conversing with people again too, which is brilliant.”
Katie’s advice to people looking to apply for an adult social care position:
“You need to have a great personality to work in social care. It’s important to be chatty and able to converse with people. Obviously, you need to be caring, good-natured, and patient. It’s important to be able to empathise and understand people’s situations.
“Don’t listen to any negative perceptions and other people’s opinions on what they think social care involves. It’s not what people imagine it to be. Don’t let them put you off because you get the chance to make a big impact on someone’s life. Even if you are only working part-time and juggling school, university, or other commitments – a couple of hours a week is all it takes to make a difference.”