From starting on a Youth Training Scheme as a care assistant in 1988, Michelle is now Potens Area Manager for Lancashire. Here she describes her amazing journey through the care industry.
“I started as a care assistant age 16 in 1988 on a ‘Youth training scheme’ which is similar to todays modern apprenticeships. I earned £27.50 a week whilst working and studying for a btec which was similar to todays NVQ.
In 1993 I was promoted to a senior support worker. Shortly after this I completed my NVQ level 3 in promoting independence. Out of all the training I’ve done over 30 odd years in social care, this training had the biggest impact as it was all about enabling people and I remember being totally inspired.
I knew at this point I wanted to be a service manager one day and when I did, I would create services that helped people be the best they could be.
In 1995 I was promoted to deputy manager and I undertook D32/33 which at the time was an NVQ assessors award. This enabled me to assess and mentor support workers to complete their NVQ’S. I really enjoyed this as it was carrying the message of good practice.
I had my son in 1997 and returned to work soon after – as MAT leave wasn’t like it is now and I continued to learn as much as I could and in 2000 I got my very first registered manager’s job. I remember how scary the first few years were (I have terrible imposter syndrome). However, I was determined and had a vision. 2008 my service achieved a Csci rating of excellent which is todays equivalent of CQC’s Outstanding. This was an incredibly proud time.
In 2009 I moved to Potens to become registered Manager of Mansard House. I LOVED this job from my first day till my last! I stayed in this role for ten years! In that time we built up a great reputation and was able to open another service (185) to accommodate all the referrals. We then opened Cannon Street which provides a step down pathway for both services.
Around 2017 I applied for an Area Manager position. Unfortunately I wasn’t successful on that occasion. I was disappointed but still happy in my role at Mansard.
In 2018 Mansard was rated outstanding by CQC in all 5 domains! Another proud moment for me and the amazing team. Also in 2018 I became the locality manager for the Preston services alongside my registered manager role at Mansard House. This gave me the opportunity to learn and gain experience.
2019 The Area Manager role came up again. I was nervous about applying again but I knew I had used my time well focusing on where I lacked knowledge and experience the last time and this time I was successful!
My advice to any Manager wanting to progress is create a team that doesn’t need you through mentoring and good succession planning. A good leaders service should run exactly the same in your absence. Look at your PDP with your area manager so you know where you need to focus on and ask if you can take on more tasks, shadow people, take all the training you can get and ask questions when you don’t understand something. We have so many knowledgeable people within Potens that would be happy to help you.
Finally, don’t give up! Keep your vision. I wasn’t successful the first time but I listened to the feedback and got my head down. The opportunities are there