By Kirstie Jones, Group People Director at Salutem Care and Education
The pandemic paved the way for a more flexible approach to work in offices and businesses across the country. While gloom and doom filled the news headlines, many people found a bit of comfort – even joy – in rediscovering a work/life balance, restored by work from home and no commute.
The care sector, of course, was a little different. Supporting individuals with specific and complex needs cannot be done remotely, and quite rightly, the spotlight shone on the fantastic work carers were doing all day every day.
Of course, agency work can offer a flavour of that flexibility to those who dedicate their life to caring for others. It offers the opportunity to work with different services, requires little to no notice period, and zero-hours contracts can be an attractive prospect to busy individuals. However, those plus points can be outweighed by a lack of stability and benefits that you only get from a permanent job.
At Salutem, we have some great examples of talented team members who have made the leap from agency to permanent staff because we understand people want to build a career, get job satisfaction and still have time for a life outside of work. We believe that wanting to spend time with your family or enjoying your hobbies shouldn’t have to be sacrificed for your job.
Amos Nkemachor is a support worker at one our services in the West Midlands, who joined the Salutem family as a permanent member of staff after 14 months of working in agency.
He said: “Initially when I came to the UK as an international student, I was attracted to working in care with an agency due to its flexible work hours. Agency work also gave me an insight into care as an industry I was not familiar with because I was able to experience working within a number of different services and supporting lots of people with various care needs.
“In my 14 months as an agency care worker, I felt that there was no clear designation in my role responsibilities, and I was not considered by many companies as a fully employed worker and therefore part of the teams, irrespective of the time I put into the job.
“I decided to join Salutem as a permanent, full-time support worker because I was happy doing my job when I was at a Salutem service and I wanted to build longer-term relationships and trust with the individuals that I was supporting, consolidating my contributions to a single service.
“Working in a single service as part of the permanent team and the Salutem family has given me the opportunity to get to know and become a part of my local community. I’ve also enjoyed being welcomed into the team, with the teamwork and cooperation among management and all staff being really helpful for me to succeed in my role – senior staff and managers are always willing and ready to teach and train you whenever their help and support is needed.
“Finally, one of my favourite things about being a part of the Salutem family is the excitement the individuals we support show every time they see me – it really gives me a sense of belonging and commitment.”
As a sector, we must work to create long term careers for compassionate, hardworking people. This requires security, investment and flexibility. Although we’re out of the pandemic, we must act now to avoid a further crisis for the most vulnerable people in society.