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Male carer spotlight

The men starting a career in care

According to latest figures carried out by Ancor, a care and housing charity for older people, men make up just 18% of the social care workforce in the UK.
During the next few weeks, we’ll be throwing the spotlight on our male carers to get the lowdown on life as a male carer – from the highs, the lows and the rewards.

CARER STORY

Jack, who is based at Fiona Gardens, has worked as a carer for three years and says he couldn't imagine doing anything else. 

"Being a male carer gives people a choice, some men will prefer, and feel more comfortable, with a male carer helping them with their personal care. Some men have never had a male carer and do really appreciate having this option." 

What would be a typical day for you? 

A typical day for me might be working a morning shift from 7am-3pm, this day can be really varied from personal care, helping customers shower, and taking meds – all sorts of things.  

So many of my friends have said to me, how can you be a carer? Surely you just change incontinence pads and help people go to the toilet. While that can be true for a small part, it's not something that bothers me at all. But it really is a small part of the job. Our job is about caring for someone and brightening their day, and developing a relationship with them, and you do get attached to people. 

What made you consider a career in care?

My grandad was diagnosed with bone cancer and needed carers, but I wasn't happy with the level of care he was receiving. One day I went over to his house and discovered he'd been left in the living room sat in his own urine, and I just couldn't bear it anymore. So, I took over as his live-in carer and did everything for him. He couldn't walk, so needed a lot of help, but I was happy to help him, he was my grandad. He sadly passed away a few years ago, but the experience I had with him and the joy it brought me made me consider a career in care. 

How do you find working for Trustcare?

I worked at MacDonald's straight after school and ended up staying there for five years, but I didn't enjoy it, especially towards the end – I got no joy out of it and became very unhappy. Eventually, I'd just had enough and handed in my notice without another job to go to, which shocked people. But within the week, I had seen an ad for a job in care, I went for it and got the job, and even within that first week, I was so much happier, and I immediately felt appreciated and welcomed with open arms from day one, I became part of a family, really. Trustcare is an incredibly special place to work. I've never experienced a workplace like it. I immediately felt at home and that I belonged. 

When I was at school, I'd always put myself down and thought I wasn't capable, but since I've been here, along with the ongoing training, Trustcare brought in a private tutor every week for me, and I've recently passed my Maths and English GCSE and am now working towards my NVQ in Social Care. It's been life-changing for me; being able to re-sit my GSCEs and pass has boosted my confidence hugely and reminded me that I am not stupid; I am very capable. 

What do you enjoy most about being a carer?

I'm glad I do what I do. I honestly couldn't imagine doing anything else. I enjoy caring for people, making a difference in their daily lives, cheering people up. I enjoy chatting and having good conversations with people. With the pandemic, especially, I like to think we've provided our customers with that human interaction, which so many of us have had to miss out of due to isolating and lockdowns. 

You do build up lovely relationships with people and can become very attached. Of course, there are times when you sadly lose people, and it can be very upsetting. One of our resident's John, who was 95, passed away recently, and that was an incredibly sad time as I'd built up a lovely relationship with him. His son asked me to be a coffin bearer at his funeral, and although it was a sad day, it was a huge privilege to be asked to be part of his day. 

What advice do you have for men who might consider a career in care?

Being a male carer gives people a choice. Many men will prefer and feel more comfortable with a male carer helping them with their personal care. Some men have never had a male carer and do really appreciate having this option. I have found some male residents will struggle to get themselves washed and dressed as they don't feel comfortable asking a female carer to help.  

Some people are quite surprised to see a male carer, and I'd say to any men considering care to be aware that there may be times when a customer will decline you as a carer, simply based on your gender, which can be quite hurtful at the beginning. However, you soon realise not to take it personally and that some people have a preference, and I respect that. I'd say to any man thinking about a career in care to give it a go, and it could be the best decision you ever made. It's not a job I thought I'd be doing, but I'm so glad I decided to go for a job in care. I honestly couldn't see myself doing anything else.  

It's certainly been life-changing for me. 

If you'd like to work for an organisation that puts people first, view our current vacancies and apply today.

If you’d like to join Jack and Callum and a growing number of men considering a rewarding career in care, view our current vacancies and apply today.

CARER STORY

Callum is just one of a growing number of men stepping into a carer’s role, we caught up with him to find out more.

"Before I joined Trustcare, I spent 7 years at a local youth club arranging sporting activities for the local kids. People used to ask me would I ever consider a career in social care? I decided to look into it and was offered a junior role at a local care provider. I knew straight away that this was something I would enjoy doing. As I didn’t have any qualifications or previous experience, I had to learn how to do the job by shadowing other care staff.

I quickly learned what was expected to perform the various tasks and really enjoyed helping people. I mostly worked with adults who suffer from dementia. Unfortunately, when the pandemic broke out, the company had to dismiss some staff members. I chose not to be transferred and immediately looked for other care roles. After searching online, I applied for a role with Trustcare and hoped for the best.

At the time, I found out that my nana and grandad had signed up for Trustcare’s Homecare service. My nana mentioned my application to the staff member and a few days later, I was invited for an interview. I got the job!"

What do you love about your role as a carer?

"I enjoy what the job involves; helping people, providing support and the impact you make. It doesn’t matter if it's something minor or a really big thing, everything you do makes such a difference. My colleagues are brilliant, it feels like we know each other inside and out."

What's the best part of your day?

"Seeing smiles on my client's faces, knowing it’s because of something you’ve done. Even if it’s just something simple like sitting down, having a chat, talking about the news or a program that they’re watching, seeing their faces light up."

What advice do you have for men who might be interested in a career in care?

"Until you’ve done it, you don’t realise what's involved. There’s a lot more to it than you think. The only thing that’s overwhelming is when you're feeling nervous because you've not provided personal care before. I'm always professional but to try and ease the nerves, I just joke about it. When you're professional and friendly it helps to make them feel comfortable."