For many people, society’s expectation that by our late teens we would know exactly what we want to do in life is a flawed and unrealistic ideal. This was a conundrum that Emma Hume found herself in. She joined us back in 2006 having already had difficulty with further education far from the North East. She said: “I had transferred my course from Weymouth in Dorset where I decided to move when I left school, I got homesick and came back. I was doing a level 3 in childcare and education course.” Ultimately, she told us, it didn’t work out. “I never completed this course…I didn’t feel challenged with the same routine day in, day out so I lost interest and gave up.”
Fortunately, this didn’t neutralise Emma’s desire to find herself a career. But even after this, the challenge was far from over. “I came back and signed on to the level 3 teaching assistant course; I completed this course but struggled to get through the council applications when I was newly qualified so gave up on this career too.” Eventually, Emma came back to EDC, this time looking at a course in Health and Social care. But again, not without complication, as she fell pregnant during her studies. This didn’t stop her achieving her goals though as she completed the course around preparing and caring for a newborn.
She told us how vital the support from EDC was: “The staff at the college were amazing, they made things fun and treated us like real adults. They supported us when we were struggling and picked us up when we crumbled.”
After completing the course at EDC she went on to finally break into a career in the care industry. “When my daughter was a year old I applied for a job in a care home, petrified at the thought I wasn’t cut out for it. I soon learned I absolutely loved it; I became more and more interested so began taking on distance learning courses through the college like end-of-life care, diabetes awareness and challenging behaviour. There were loads of courses to choose from so I worked my way through a few.”
It was these additional distance learning courses that allowed Emma to rapidly climb the promotion ladder. “After a couple of years working in the care home as a bank carer, I took on a full-time contract and began my training to be a senior carer. This meant more responsibility - it also meant I was now guiding new students who were doing the same course as I had done. I made a promise to myself that I would keep going, keep learning and keep developing. I am now a care home manager!”
Taking the story full circle, as a care home manager, Emma has continued to have a close relationship with the college, now accepting students to follow her own guidance. “I now accept students from the college, guide them and support them and make sure they are being shown what they need to complete their courses. I have also employed some students when they finished studying and turned 18. My responsibility now is to make sure that my residents receive the care they need and that all my staff are trained and competent. What I love most about my job is that it is different every single day, you never know what you are going to walk through the door to. Things are changing all of the time and this keeps me motivated.”
“My message to young people is that care is not easy. It’s a very undervalued job but it is so rewarding and definitely worth the work you put in. The industry needs people who really do care and when COVID has eased off a bit we look forward to helping students through placements here.”