There are plenty of opportunities at all levels, whether you want a stable job in friendly environments or to progress and experience various social care settings. Optalis is a great place to work in all our roles, from administrators, support workers, employment coaches, social workers, occupational therapists, to reablement assistants.
When James, a 25-year-old based in Wokingham, was working with the council to host regular sports sessions, his future completely changed.
Through the sessions, he was introduced to his current colleagues and saw how rewarding the role of a support worker could be. It was those colleagues who persuaded him to apply for a new job opening on their team.
“I’ve never been 100% sure of what I wanted to do, or what path I wanted to follow. But when I saw the job, I thought I’d just give it a go,” he explained.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
Now, his role still includes hosting sports sessions, but there’s so much more to it as James explains. “I find it so rewarding being able to introduce our customers to something new and supporting them to become more active."
“The most gratifying moment for me is seeing individuals come out of their shell, start smiling and taking part. It’s an amazing feeling to think ‘I helped them do that.’”
James wasn’t put off by his lack of experience in the sector either. “One of the things that appealed to me was that they’d train me on the job. I managed to get all the knowledge and information I needed to feel confident to begin my role.”
He started off by spending two days a week on courses for a month, learning about the introductions to care and support, including CPR and general care. During the remainder of the week, James was able to shadow colleagues, observing their daily work and providing a realistic picture of the role. “Optalis has been great to work with as they’ve made plenty of room for professional growth. So far, I’ve been able to access all the tools I need to develop. And when I decide on which next step I’d like to take, I know where I can get help and support from.”
Caroline joined Optalis over eight years ago, she currently works in our Extra Care service in Wokingham. The service has 19 flats, with some residents who receive care support packages. We spoke to Caroline about her role as a support worker.
Caroline explained that she usually works either a 7:00am to 2:30pm shift or a 2:30 to 9pm. Caroline described her morning shift to us so that we could understand what her role involved.
“I start the day with the team on shift, we get a handover from the night staff and discuss anything that needs to be done that day. I also read the comms book to update myself.
We are given a call list and go and do the calls. Working in a fixed location means that I know everyone’s needs across the service and can support any of the calls. This might include personal care, assisting with medication, laundry, supporting a person to get ready to go to an appointment.
We also do welfare checks for the resident’s who do not receive a care support package, where we check in on them during the day to make sure they are ok.
The calls we are given are based around the care needs of each person, we have to flex and adapt depending on the person’s needs that day. We are usually allocated six people a shift, and two to three of those people we support with another carer on a double up call. The team work well together and we can always call on each other if needed. By 10:30am everyone’s morning routine is generally done and I can take a short break.
At around 11am, we support the residents with their morning routine, from assisting with toileting, to helping people to choose and prepare lunch. Some people need a bit of support to use the microwave and we have some people who need support to eat and drink their meals. It is really varied and each call is different.
After lunch we do a bit of house work and domestic calls before heading back to the office to do handover, write the care notes and record anything in the handover book, and then it’s time to head home.”
“It’s a great team, everyone’s really supportive. You learn a lot and grow as a person. There is a good support network if you want to train and progress but there is no pressure to.”
Mandy started out working for Optalis Day Services and was redeployed to the Short Term Support and Reablement Team (STS&R) during the pandemic. She has really taken to the role of Reablement Assistant, so much so, that she recently took up a permanent position within the team. She talked to us about her experiences so far, and why the role appeals to her:
Mandy explains: "I enjoy the interaction I have with our customers. I am going into people’s homes, often they are unwell and I may be the only person they see all day. They are happy to see me. I will work with a customer for a short period of time, around 4-6 weeks, and in that time you really start to see a positive difference."
What does a typical day look like?
I work shift work, an early shift is 7am-3pm and late shift is 3pm- 11pm. Each shift, I am given a schedule of care calls which I work my way through. The day is spilt into 4 blocks of ‘calls’
- Morning Calls, 7am-11am
- Lunch Calls, 12pm-3pm
- Tea Calls, 3pm-6pm
- Evening Calls, 6pm -11pm
The number of calls a customer has over the course of the day, depends on what they need. We would support people with a range of daily living tasks, including personal care, getting dressed, meal preparation and other tasks around the home. The level of support the person receives also depends on what they need, for example, we may make a meal for the customer or supervise them preparing their own meal.
Everyone is so helpful, supportive and easy to talk to. I did not have experience of working in this way before, so started out shadowing more experienced colleagues. They took the lead and I was able to follow and learn along the way. Now I’m on my own I know I can call on the team for support at any time.