20 Jun 2015
In the week we celebrate Care Home Open Day, colleagues from different teams across Anchor are sharing their experiences of a career in care. Dean Hill, the Receptionist at Anchor’s Kerria Court care home in Birmingham tells us why he works in the care sector.
I came to work in the care sector after a seven year career in the army and a life-changing motorbike accident.
As a young man my army career was diverse; it took me around the world and taught me a great deal about myself as much as other people. I joined up at the age of 16 as a junior soldier and trained with the Parachute Regiment in Aldershot and Scotland. After breaking my leg I was then transferred to the Royal Logistics Corps where I drove heavy goods vehicles. I went on to serve two tours in Bosnia as part of the IFOR international peacekeeping force and also spent time based in Germany.
While serving in the army I also discovered I had a talent for boxing. In 1994 I won the light heavy weight championship for all the British armed forces based in Germany, and went on to fight in the final of all British forces, losing out ironically to a boxer from my old regiment – the Paras.
In 1999 I left the army and spent the next 10 years doing a series of other jobs, from construction to heavy goods driving, but after a serious motorbike accident I was left disabled and now use a wheelchair.
This sudden change in my life meant I had to really consider my career options. Working in a wheelchair-friendly environment was now an important consideration for me, as was flexible hours so that I could attend physiotherapy sessions. I looked into a few industries and decided I would like to work with older people.
I was pleased to find that Anchor openly welcomes applications from disabled people and that care homes like Kerria Court have well-thought through disabled access. I realised I had a lot of transferrable skills learnt in the army which I could utilise, and in 2009 I started working as a receptionist at Anchor’s Kerria Court care home in Birmingham.
My receptionist role at the care home involves helping residents on a daily basis with a wide range of tasks, from organising taxis or doctors’ appointments to taking post around to their rooms. I also handle enquiries from potential customers. I’m often the first person visitors meet when they come to view the home and I know that for many people choosing a care home is a daunting prospect, they are often under a lot of pressure and quite nervous. I’m here to welcome them, help put them at ease as well as show them around the care home and answer their questions.
Given my career history many people are surprised that I now have a job in the care sector, but I find my job varied and very interesting, with no two days the same. Working in a care home you meet lots of interesting older people from whom you can learn so much. I have a profound respect for older people and find it really fulfilling helping them to live well.
I would say that there are a number of parallels between the army and the care sector and the skills that make people successful in both are very similar:
- Discipline in time keeping and pride in your work
- Being able to talk to a wide variety of people of different ages and from backgrounds
- Strong camaraderie between staff
- The instinct to help other people
Some people mistakenly think that jobs in the care sector are just for women or are a bit girly but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at me: a former soldier who also used to box.
I work in care because…I want to give something back to our elders.