From furlough to full-time Healthcare Assistant: how an ex-chef has been whisked away by his new role in homecare services
PUBLISHED: 17:16 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:48 09 June 2020
Due to coronavirus, Michael Beckenham was furloughed from his position as a chef, and like many people sought temporary work to stabilise his finances. Now, he’s taken on a permanent position at Overington Care – an independent care agency in Seaton - while working towards an NVQ in Healthcare and is excited to go into work each day.
We spoke to Michael who shares his story and tells us why he thinks a career as a carer is completely underrated.
Q: Why did you decide to work as a Healthcare Assistant?
My passion has always been cooking and I’ve only ever wanted to be a chef. But when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, I was subsequently furloughed from my chef position. Knowing it was going to be a financially uncertain time, I had to keep working and wanted to find something that would also allow me to help during the pandemic in some way.
My girlfriend is a Healthcare Assistant at Overington Care and mentioned that they were looking for new team members, so I applied. The interview process was very straightforward, and I started shadowing the team the following Monday.
Q: What have you learnt in your new role?
The role has surpassed my expectations and taken me totally by surprise – I was nervous to work in an industry I knew nothing about and honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it.
I’ve quickly become immersed in this incredibly rewarding role, with my own responsibilities. I love that the job is so varied and I’m learning something new everyday – it’s very exciting.
I’m 28 and have two children, so I would have never imagined working as a Healthcare Assistant. I’ve quickly learnt that it’s a very underrated career choice, especially for men.
Q: What does your job involve?
Not what you’d typically think. As I’m male, I only go to male client’s homes. All their needs vary, and my job is to help them live comfortably and independently.
I visit clients sometimes multiple times a day and I love spending time with them – they’ve all lived such interesting lives. My responsibilities range from carrying shopping, and helping with gardening and cooking, to helping them to shave, get dressed and administering medication.
It’s challenging at times – you have to be able to adapt to client’s needs as they change. But I like how that makes the role varied and different every day.
Q: What is it like working for Overington Care?
I’d automatically assumed I wouldn’t get the job, but despite my lack of experience the Manager, Nichola Overington, put my mind at ease by explaining that I would have full training and support from the start.
I wasn’t ‘thrown in at the deep end’, but instead shadowed other Healthcare Assistants and learnt from my team members, who are all very supportive and helpful. Now I’ve taken on my own responsibilities and I’m working towards an NVQ in Healthcare to further my learning.
Even though this is a particularly challenging time to be working ‘on the front line’, Nichola remains positive and keeps up the morale with friendly competitions – last week I won some beer and chocolates!
Q: Has it been difficult to come into the role during coronavirus?
We’ve been very fortunate at Overington Care and haven’t been directly affected – which goes to show how effective the measures the company have put in place have been.
Even though the main office is closed, we have remained responsive and we’re well-stocked with the necessary PPE equipment. We’ve had to adapt the way we work with clients as most of them cannot go outside. However, we continue to go above and beyond to ensure they are happy and healthy.
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