Through support and opportunity Claire finds her true calling at Consensus

March 16, 2018

Having forged a career in the hospitality industry over a number of years, Claire as general manager of a hotel found herself being made redundant in November 2012. She embraced being made redundant, seeing it as a positive opportunity presenting a chance to really think about alternative careers and her next step. Working in hospitality had ‘just happened’ and wasn’t ever where she saw herself being. With a chance to start over, at 28 years old she felt a lot of pressure to make the right choice.

After just four weeks with Consensus Claire just knew it was where she was meant to be. Here Claire shares the story of her journey into Social Care and Consensus.

“I started working for the company in March 2013. This was following being made redundant in November 2012. Although I had forged a career in the hospitality industry and had worked my way up over 12 years from part time bar staff to general manager of a hotel, I took the opportunity of being made redundant as a positive step and really thought about what I could do as an alternative career. Working in hospitality just happened and wasn’t ever where I saw myself being. Being made redundant was a chance to start over and not many people find themselves in that position at 28 years old so I felt a lot of pressure on myself to make the right choice.

My mum had been employed with Consensus for some years and I always felt envious of the rewarding experiences she was getting from her role. She mentioned that Gretton House were looking for relief staff. I thought this would be the best option for me as it was completely out of my comfort zone and was worried that I may not take to the role. I registered my interest for one of these positions and five years later, here I am as Acting Service Manager of Parvale House!

By the time I had finished my four week induction programme I went from a relief staff member to full time. I just knew that this was where I was meant to be and any worries I had about it not being the right job for me were dissolved almost instantly.

I was made to feel so welcome by the support team at Gretton House and the supported individuals were just the most incredible people I’ve ever met. Everyone was so supportive to me and I felt like I was part of this special working environment and I felt very privileged to be there.

I must admit, in the early days, the freedom I felt of having no management responsibilities was a breath of fresh air and I completely embraced the role of Support Worker and all the activities that came with this. However I soon started to feel that I had more to give. A promotional position was advertised at Gretton House and although I knew I hadn’t been in the job long I knew I had to apply, even if it was just to gain some more interview experience. The promotion was not meant to be, but another opportunity came as a Team Leader at Gretton House in April 2015. I was successful in securing this position and enjoyed leading a shift team and having responsibilities again.

I soon realised that I wanted to develop further with Consensus and I really liked learning the different aspects of support from a line manager’s point of view and was eager to continue with this. The opportunity for further experience came and I was successful in the position of Team Co-Coordinator at Parvale House and in October 2016 I transferred from Gretton House. This role gave me the opportunity to develop and gain further skills in the management of a support service.

In July 2017, I became the Acting Service Manager of Parvale House due to the service manager going on maternity leave. I knew that I would be taking on a position that would be hard work, difficult at times even, but I knew that I would be able to do it and wanted the opportunity to do so.

I have gained so much confidence and experience during my time at Parvale House, in both my roles, here.

The support I have received from my Consensus colleagues during this time has been fantastic. They have always encouraged me to develop and succeed and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

My most memorable moment in terms of my development has to be gaining the Acting Service Manager position at Parvale House.

I am also very proud that I will be going back to Gretton House in May 2018 to commence in my new role of Care Manager, the position that I was unsuccessful for in 2015. Which goes to show, if you work hard, soak up every experience and training opportunity you are given, you will get to where you want to be.

In terms of memorable moments supporting individuals, it has to be all the fundraising we do here at Parvale for worthy causes like Cancer Research and Comic Relief and seeing how much the individuals we support get out of it and their obvious enjoyment in taking part.

If anyone is thinking of doing something like this and is completely out of their comfort zone I would say go for it! You will be given so much support and opportunity to develop and I don’t think you will look back only forward, whatever role and aspirations you have.

It sounds over dramatic but walking through the doors of Gretton House five years ago changed my life in so many ways. I love my job, it can be challenging at times but the people I work with and of course the individuals that I support, they are the reason why I’m here and I love seeing all the different things that they achieve on a daily basis and I feel honoured to be a part of it.”

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