Alexis Davey, of Hampshire-headquartered In Home Care, lifts the lid on a career journey which has seen her travel to the other side of the world and back again.
Like so many young people, I came to the end of my school career without having a clear idea of what to do next. One thing I did know, however, was that I wanted to help other people, and so a career in care began to look rather appealing. My first job was in a local nursing home and I took to it immediately.
From there, I moved into community care work, supporting adults with learning disabilities. I realised then just how much of a privilege it is to help someone live the life they want to lead, with as much support as they need to make that a possibility. During my time as a community care worker, I met people with a variety of stories to share and it was so rewarding to hear their experiences.
Of course, caring for someone else means that you cannot help but become close to them. When the worst happens, it is an immensely difficult experience to go through. I recall, and will always remember, the first customer I had who passed away. Sadly, he had no living relatives, but I was there by his side when he passed away peacefully – I will always consider myself lucky to have helped him in his final days, and make him as comfortable as possible.
It is important to encourage fresh faces to stay for the long-term, by giving them clear career options to progress, and training to help them reach their dream targets.
Like many young people, the desire to get out and see the world was one that I simply could not ignore. So, at the age of 21, I went on a travelling expedition which eventually led me to Australia, where I was able to use my skills from the UK to support individuals in this amazing country. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up staying for more than seven years, primarily working in nursing homes, building my skills and confidence with each passing day.
Returning to the UK and after a break to have my children, I went straight back out into the care arena. I was able to complete my QCF Levels 2 and 3 in health and social care, funded by my employers at the time, before joining In Home Care in 2015. Within a year, I progressed from senior carer to deputy manager and opened the company’s branch in Grayshott, on the Hampshire / Surrey border.
Thanks to the support from the company’s directors, I took my career further still, moving from deputy to care manager, and then registered manager covering two of the company’s branches. By 2018, I was the operations director of all In Home Care’s offices – my current role and one which I take great pride in.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of caring for the most vulnerable members of society in the safety of their own homes.
My role gives me the opportunity to nurture the next generation of care talent. There will be a growing demand for carers in the years to come, with the UK’s ageing population growing, so it is important to encourage fresh faces to stay for the long-term, by giving them clear career options to progress, and training to help them reach their dream targets.
I have been fortunate to have found a supportive employer with In Home Care, from the directors all the way to the carers out on the frontline. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of caring for the most vulnerable members of society in the safety of their own homes.
Care was a clear path for me to take – it was something I knew I could make a difference doing and that is the case for a lot of carers taking their initial steps into the sector. Peoples’ perceptions of care have changed in the wake of Covid-19 too; now more than ever, we are seeing carers join us from a variety of previous industries, many of whom had never thought of care work prior to the pandemic.
And while that is a huge confidence boost for our sector, each carer needs to be made to feel part of a family and clearly shown a career path which they can be excited by. That way, these talented and compassionate individuals will continue to be at the heart of supporting their community for years to come.
To all the prospective carers out there or anyone thinking of venturing into the care sector, my one piece of advice would be to follow your dreams and to never give up on them.