At Carewatch, we firmly believe in promoting within, many people underestimate how far you could go with a career in care. Stephen is a leading example of how you can achieve your way up the career ladder. He has been working in the health and social care industry since 1981, having started as a care worker at the age of 18.
Stephen Unsworth is Managing Director of operations at Carewatch, and is directly responsible to four regional directors, three executive managers and indirectly responsible for over 40 branch managers and 5,000 carers overall.
He started out wanting to follow his father into a career in engineering, having studied Pure Mathematics, Applied Maths and Physics at A-Level.
He then began taking an interest in a friend’s nursing career, having talked about it with his friend, he found himself being drawn into care by an instinctive feeling that a people-oriented profession was what he really wanted. Stephen says he has never looked back, and views health and social care as a lifetime career.
He applied for student nurse training with the NHS in Cheshire and was accepted. As there was a four month wait for his placement, Stephen was offered a role as a Care Worker, an ideal place to gain experience of working in care.
Stephen became a student nurse, taking his first nurse manager role at the age of 27 before later taking a senior level role in the social services department of the Cheshire local authority.
Stephen says: “I always had aspirations to work in management and to try and make a difference to the quality of peoples’ lives and have worked my way up to the position of Managing Director at Carewatch.”
Training and specialism opportunities are vast
He believes care opens many doors for talented people with the right personality: “One advantage of working in the care industry is that there are a wide range of available qualifications and training opportunities.
Employees are able to tailor their expertise through NVQs and specialist training. Carewatch runs induction training for new joiners to find out how they want their careers to develop and can then specialise in anything from companionship services to complex or dementia care.
It’s also worth noting while I was a registered nurse, I also studied Business in the evenings at Manchester University. Having that business knowledge is a useful complement to care experience if you want to climb the care career ladder.”
Career progression opportunities in the care sector are on the increase
Stephen also advises that the job progression opportunities are only going to become greater: “Demographics absolutely dictate that our aging population is growing. People are living longer and by 2040, nearly one in seven people are projected to be aged over 75. Never has the demand for care practitioners been greater.”
However, I enjoy the challenging, varied nature of the work and being surrounded by a management team with a real consciousness that how we act has a fundamental impact on people’s lives, working on truly market-leading initiatives to make a real difference. I get the chance to work with good people, who are also ambitious.
My team work with me to ensure that our branch managers receive the right level of support to do the very best they can to support their staff in meeting the challenge to fulfil service user needs. Having worked on the ground yourself certainly helps with this process!
Ultimately, with the right application you can progress from care worker to being a care manager earning in the region of £35,000 and from there push on even further. It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are other types of careers sought by care companies – from marketing to quality managers and from HR to finance there are opportunities for promotion in these areas too.”
Start your career in care with Carewatch
Stephen is not an isolated example of someone who has progressed quickly within Carewatch. Andy Bentham, at Carewatch Kendal, started as a care worker with Carewatch, and is now a Care Manager at the age of 33. He was also selected as a finalist for the Great North West Care Awards having lead his team during last year’s Cumbria floods.
If you are interested in starting a career in care, we recruit via our many branches accross the UK. you can search for a care job near you over at our jobs site.