My Career with
My name is Nigel Pennington and I’m the Registered Manager at Moorfield House. In my spare time I go to the gym and I love travelling. I go away 2 or 3 times a year, visiting some amazing places. My favourites are Australia and countries in South East Asia, such as Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand. I travel solo but have lots of friends in these countries who I meet up with whilst I’m over there.
What did you do before getting into residential care?
When I left school I went straight into The Parachute Regiment and spent 3 years in the Army. When I came out of the Army, I joined the building/civil engineering trade and stayed in that sector for many years. I also lived and worked in Australia for 3 years.
What made you interested in a career in care?
In 2003, a friend of mine who worked for Hexagon Care asked me if I fancied working in residential childcare, as they had some vacancies. So, I decided to give it a go as a Casual Residential Support Worker (CRSW) for a few months alongside my building job, covering different shifts for Piers House. I really enjoyed the job and found working with the young people really rewarding.
Talk us through your career progression with Hexagon Care
I was in my mid-thirties and was getting fed up with working outside in all weathers, so I decided to take a job as a full-time RSW at Piers House. After a couple of years, I transferred over to Oakwood, another Hexagon Care home, to become a team leader. When the deputy manager position came up there, I decided to apply and was successful, staying in that role for around 5 years. Towards the end of this time, an opportunity came around to manage the newly created Crisis Intervention Service (CIS). At the time, this was only a small service, so I carried on being a deputy at Oakwood whilst working to develop the CIS. This led to the company opening 6 additional locations and the service being one of the first Ofsted regulated CIS in the country. After working in that fast-paced role for a while, I moved over to be registered manager for a smaller, specialist therapeutic home, (Moorfield House) which is where I am today.
What support has Hexagon Care provided to aid your progression?
The training Hexagon Care offer is fantastic, you can’t fault it. The learning and development team send out a quarterly planner so you can keep yourself and your team up to date on all of the required training, but there are also many more free CPD courses for us to access to develop our skills and knowledge. Most of the training is delivered face-to-face by our in-house training team and they are brilliant. The support I’ve received from my line managers throughout my time at Hexagon Care has been second to none. People like Stuart Shaw (who was our Head of Service and is now our Independent Person Coordinator), and my manager Bev Haydock from Oakwood – they both really pushed me to get where I am today. I’ve also received lots of support from Vicky Waterhouse and the referrals team. Vicky is instrumental in registering our new services and has a wealth of knowledge which she shares with managers to help them along the way. I’m also an ambitious person so I’ve pushed myself to develop my skills and knowledge. I’ve now got two Level 3, two Level 4, and two Level 5 qualifications (funded by the Hexagon Care), and for someone who wasn’t great at school, I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved whilst working here.
The training Hexagon Care offer is fantastic, you can’t fault it.
Has anyone inspired you on your journey?
The young people inspire me every day. I’ve looked after hundreds of children since I first started, and many of those memories have stuck with me and remind me why I do what I do. I cared for most of these young people through the CIS, as they only stayed with us for around a month; however, some of the positive outcomes from just one month with us were fantastic. I do enjoy the fact that I now get to watch the young people in my home grow up. To see their progression and how much they have changed and developed over the past 2 years is amazing.
What are the most important attributes for a successful residential care manager?
To be a good leader you need to be a good listener, which allows you to get to know your staff team and build relationships with them. You need to be understanding and willing to assist staff with personal issues and support them with their health and wellbeing. We all have a life outside of work and if we can make that easier, staff are more likely to be happy and motivated at work as a result. As a manager, it’s your job to go above and beyond for your team and the young people in your care. Even if that means jumping on a shift to cover or being on call – I guess flexibility is the key.
We all have a life outside of work and if we can make that easier, staff are more likely to be happy and motivated at work as a result.
What’s your favourite thing about being a manager?
I love developing my team and passing on my experience to them. I have two new deputies now, (both have been senior RSWs with us prior to this), and I’m enjoying teaching them management skills and giving them some of the management jobs to do to. It’s great to see them progressing in their careers.
What’s your favourite thing about working for Hexagon Care?
I’ve worked for Hexagon Care for almost 20 years now, so I feel a bit like I’m part of the furniture! In all honesty, I’ve had job offers from other care companies, but they just don’t offer the same quality of care or the same level of training and support that Hexagon do. Our Senior Management Team and our service managers have years and years of experience in the sector and are so qualified and knowledgeable. They’ve all been where we’ve been at some point in their career – so they know exactly what support we need in the homes. I’ve had the chance to work with some fantastic people here who have really inspired me.
What are your goals for the future?
I don’t have any aspirations to be a service manager as I enjoy working with the young people in the home too much. I’m just really happy where I am. I’ve got a great team and some fantastic young people and the home is lovely - what more could I want?
What would you say to someone who is thinking of a career with Hexagon Care?
For anyone just starting out as a support worker, I would say just enjoy the job. Enjoy working with the young people, get to know them, build good relationships with them. You get paid to go out and have fun with the young people, and you will get to do some great activities and go to some fantastic places, so just enjoy your shifts and come to work with a positive outlook every day. Try not to run before you can walk and stick with it even when times are tough. Because if you do, you can progress to where I am now and have a great career.
You get paid to go out
and have fun with the young people, and you
will get to do some great activities and go to some fantastic places