A former professional footballer and Miss England contestant has forged a new career as a frontline care and support worker.
Eighteen year-old Erin Smith, who has played for West Brom and Coventry United, began working at Caremark (Worcester & Malvern Hills) after COVID-19 emerged and the UK went into lockdown.
The centre back is also a Miss England contestant and hopes to go through to the finals, which may be held virtually next month due to lockdown restrictions.
She says her new job is challenging, but loves being able to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable clients.
“Being a carer is difficult, but I’m absolutely loving it,” said Smith, who wants to become a nurse.
“The residents are all so lonely because they can’t have visitors and they miss their families, so it’s nice to be the one bit of joy in their day.”
Smith recently set up a Zoom call on her laptop for one elderly lady and her grandson, moving her to tears of joy.
Other new recruits at Caremark’s 100 plus offices include teachers, flight attendants, models, estate agents and journalists.
Flight attendant Abi Grace, 37, had only just begun training at a new airline when the pandemic emerged.
Like many cabin crew, she lost her job, but realised that many of her skills, such as first aid, medication training and working with people, were transferrable to home care. She joined Caremark and now visits eights clients each day.
Caremark managing director David Glover said: “Covid-19 is placing massive pressures on the care system, as well as businesses across a wide range of industry sectors. This is creating a unique set of circumstances and we are seeing unprecedented numbers of applicants from all walks of life applying for front-line care and support worker roles.
“We’d like to warmly welcome all our new-starters and hope that many decide to stay on after Covid-19 ends and things start going back to normal.”