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Thoughts from a PrimeLife Care Assistant

It has been an exciting year for PrimeLife and a period of great change: from being recognized as one of the top 20 Care Providers in the UK to the expansion of our Quality Matters Team and the application of the national living wage. In light of all these developments, we could not find a more appropriate time to take a moment to reflect on all of this with one of our youngest employees, Joseph O’Connor. Chloe Davies, our HR Advisor for the Eastern Region, travelled to Mill House Care Centre to speak to the young Apprentice Care Assistant, to find out about his experience with PrimeLife and gain his perspective on these recent changes: ‘Joseph joined PrimeLife in September 2015 after finishing his school education at Cambridge Regional College. Joseph was looking for experience in health and social care and discovered Mill House through Norfolk Training Centre. When asked what inspired him to pursue a position in Care, Joseph told me that it was a ‘personal’ vocation and that he had ‘cared for a family member’ throughout his life. Joseph went on to explain that he had joined PrimeLife because of its ‘homely’ environment, where he could gain experience in many aspects of care.

Achievements and Reflection

Mill house Care Centre offers care to clients with dementia and those who have needs associated with old age. Although Joseph has experience volunteering with young people with learning difficulties, I was interested to find out what he had learnt and experienced since becoming a Care Assistant in an environment of which he had little understanding. Joseph admitted that he ‘struggled with some aspects of care at the beginning’ of his role yet his commitment and dedication is verified by the confidence and knowledge he exudes today, an appraisal that is shared by his Manager, Melissa Stroud. From speaking to Joseph it is evident that he has gained many insights and embraced various training opportunities since joining Mill House. Joseph went on to talk to me about his duties which range from ‘personal care’ to promoting independence and dignity. Joseph supports clients with limited mobility and has successfully completed training in the use of hoists and other mobility aids. Joseph spoke with such assurance and enthusiasm and even took the time to enlighten me about the technique of ‘stand aiding’. Joseph stated that one of the skills he had acquired in particular since joining Mill House was ‘the ability to work independently and more confidently’ and has developed his ‘ability to deal with aggressive and challenging behaviour’. Joseph stated that one of the highlights of his role is ‘building relationships with both residents and staff members’ but that the biggest reward is the ‘feeling of making a difference in people’s lives’.

The National Living Wage

After establishing the personal rewards of working in care, I went on to talk to Joseph about the recent introduction of the national living wage. This year PrimeLife chose to apply the national living wage to all of our PrimeLife employees, despite the legal application for those aged 25 and over. A £1.6 million investment was made in order to recognise the importance of every staff member in our organisation. Joseph informed that the pay review had been a ‘topic of conversation in the homes before its introduction and went on to emphasise that it was a ‘positive’ development that will ‘make a difference’ in living standards and motivate PrimeLife employees.

Long Term Goals

I really enjoyed talking to Joseph at Mill House. It is obvious from his demeanour and language how passionate he is about caring for others. Joseph eventually wants to work with children with autism and learning difficulties and feels that his experience with PrimeLife has equipped him with skills and experience that will prepare him for his next role. Although he is ‘really enjoying’ his ‘work at Mill House’, Joseph feels that working with children is his ultimate vocation and I wish him to best of luck on his journey. Like Joseph, all of our staff have access to a wealth of training opportunities, all of which are free of charge and part of our development programme. PrimeLife offer care to a wide variety of client groups and homes that specialise in caring for clients with various needs, such as young adults and the elderly. Career progression is available for those willing to train, learn and possibly re-locate in order to develop their skills in the care sector. Since joining PrimeLife as a HR Administrator, I have had the opportunity to develop my own skills and experience in both the operational and business sector.’ PrimeLife is dedicated to recognising and developing their employees to the best of their ability. Joseph’s story illustrates how all of our team have the potential to inspire results and promote quality throughout our organisation. Click here to find out more about working for PrimeLife.
Homes Mentioned