My Career with
My name is Rachel Evans and I’m the registered manager at Wharton Lane. I’ve just had a baby, so life is pretty hectic at the moment - currently, my hobbies consist of trying to read or watch TV whilst he sleeps, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What did you do before getting into residential care?
I started with Hexagon Care when I was quite young and still in university, so I only really ever had part-time student jobs before this. I did a degree in Psychology at Manchester University, and then went on to do Forensic Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). I wanted to be a Forensic Psychologist and I was originally interested in the criminal behaviour of adults, so I was initially looking at working for the prison service.
What made you interested in a career in care?
Whilst at UCLAN, I met a woman who worked for Coastal Child and Adult Therapeutic Services (CCATS). She recommended that I go and get some work experience in a home which had therapy on-site to see how it worked day-to-day in practice. That’s when I started working as a casual residential support worker (CRSW) for Hexagon Care.
Talk us through your career progression with Hexagon Care
After doing some work as a CRSW, I realised that I enjoyed that more than being a psychologist. I carried on working at the home on evenings and weekends whilst completing my degree, thinking I might end up being a therapist in a children’s home instead of the prison service. But as time went on, I realised I wanted to be at the home full-time with the young people, not just visiting to do therapy sessions. I’d developed a new passion for being a support worker and wanted to progress on this new career path. As soon as I finished my degree I decided to go full-time, but due to a home closing and relocating, there weren’t any jobs in my local area. I ended up moving to another care company for 9 months whilst I was waiting for something to come up near me at Hexagon Care. I came back to Hexagon as a senior residential support worker (SRSW) at a new home called Westmount. I then went over to be the deputy manager at The Nook for about a year and a half, until I was promoted to manager of a new service called Wharton Lane. I’ve been with Hexagon Care for around 6 years now and I love it.
What support has Hexagon Care provided to aid your progression?
The amount of training offered to progress in your role is amazing. I think I’ve been on pretty much every training course that Hexagon Care offers so I’m qualified to say how good they are! I was one of the first to complete Hexagon Care’s Aspiring Leadership Programme, which provided me with valuable knowledge in preparation for being a manager. I’ve also completed my Level 5 qualification, which Hexagon Care reimbursed me for.
I’ve also had the chance to shadow other managers and do shifts in other homes, which has really helped me to hone my skills and learn from others. I’ve visited most of the homes in the North West and some in Yorkshire too, and it’s helped my development to see how others do things and to make new connections, meet other staff teams and expand my support network.
I was one of the
first to complete Hexagon Care’s Aspiring Leadership Programme, which provided me with valuable knowledge in preparation for
being a manager.
Has anyone inspired you on your journey?
There are so many inspirational people at Hexagon Care it’s hard to say! When I first started at Westmount as a SRSW, my manager Jo Abram took me under her wing and really supported me with my development. She inspired me to push myself and to get involved with anything I could – so I did all of the extra training, I went above and beyond in my job role to show my passion, and I’ve even appeared in a company video or two! I’ve learned so much from Jo, even more so now as she has been promoted to Service Manager at Hexagon Care. Others who have inspired me are my Service Manager Louise (now Deputy Head of Care), my colleagues at Westmount Holly and Huma, and our Quality & Compliance Manager Jules who taught the ALP course – what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing!
What are the most important attributes for a successful residential care manager?
You need to be approachable, and people need to know that you are going to listen to them, be non-judgemental and take their opinions on board. You can get lots of great ideas from your staff team, so it’s important they feel valued and have the opportunity to contribute their thoughts. All of my staff know that they can come and talk to me whenever they want to and they all appreciate that.
What’s your favourite thing about being a manager?
You’ve got to have a bit of everything as you have to deal with lots of different situations. You must be really organised, as you always have lots of different things going on (sometimes all at once!). Having a sense of humour and a friendly personality is important as you must be approachable for your team. Striking the right balance between that and still remaining professional as a manager is key really - it’s all about mutual respect. You also have to be really motivated, as part of your role is to push the service forward and encourage the staff team to be the best they can be for our young people. You should always be willing to improve and develop yourself too.
Hexagon Care has
great morals and values, and they really care about the young people they support, as well as the staff teams who care for those young people.
What’s your favourite thing about working for Hexagon Care?
Hexagon Care has great morals and values, and they really care about the young people they support, as well as the staff teams who care for those young people. I like the fact that the company is always trying to push forward and innovate, and I’ve seen some really positive changes happening over the past few years which I’m sure will continue. Also, the training the company offers is second to none and it makes our staff teams miles better than anywhere else you could go. Something else I really enjoy is getting together with other managers and deputies at the National Conference. It reminds me that we are one big family and I have so many people I can call friends from across the company
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
My first Ofsted inspection at Wharton Lane is my proudest moment so far. It was our first one as a new home, my first as a registered manager, and we had just come out of a difficult period, dealing with the pandemic and settling our first 3 young people. To achieve a GOOD in all areas made me really proud of myself and my team.
What are your goals for the future?
My current goals are to get my baby walking and talking and enjoy being a new mum! But professionally, I do have the ambition to be a service manager eventually. I’d like to do a few more years as a manager and get some more Ofsted inspections under my belt before I think about that though! In the meantime, I want to support other new homes and managers like I was supported when I first started out, and focus on my personal and professional development.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of a career with Hexagon Care?
The great thing about working at Hexagon Care is you aren’t just a number, you’re part of a family. The company knows that staff are their greatest asset and they really look after you. As I mentioned before, the training is the best you will ever get – it’s really hands-on and is focused on what you will encounter in the home so it’s easy to apply the theory to your role. For those looking into a career in residential care, there are lots of different options for you. Some people join as RSWs and then stay in that role as they really enjoy the shift work and working closely with the young people. But for those who want to progress, the option is there to move up into more senior roles.
The great thing about
working at Hexagon Care is you aren’t just a number, you’re part of a family. The company knows that staff are their greatest asset and they really look after you.