My Career with
My name is Rachel Young and I’m the Deputy Manager at Ruby Lodge. I’ve got two little boys at home - a 7 year old and a 2 year old, plus 2 dogs, so they all keep me really busy! When I’m not working at the weekends I love to go and visit our caravan with the kids and the dogs.
What did you do before getting into residential care?
When I was 18, I moved over to Australia and worked over there as a bank manager. Whilst I was over there, I was in that role for around 10 years before I decided I wanted a complete career change, so I moved back home to the UK in 2016 to see what was available.
What made you interested in a career in care?
My ex-husband had a child when he was quite young, and at the time he was put into foster care. When the child turned 17, he started trying to get in touch with his dad, but unfortunately, he wasn’t interested in developing a relationship with him. After hearing about this, I was really passionate about trying to engage with the child, and I’m now in regular contact with him, even though I’m no longer with his dad. I don’t know what it was exactly that drew me towards building a relationship with him, but I felt a great empathy towards him and just felt like he needed someone. So when I moved back to the UK, I started to chatting to a friend about it, who happened to be a manager from Hexagon Care. He told me – “you need to come and work with kids in care, to put that nurturing, caring side of you to good use!” And it all took off from there really.
Talk us through your career progression with Hexagon Care
I started off working as a casual residential support worker at Ruby Lodge in 2017. I did that for about 8 months until a full-time residential support worker (RSW) role came up, which I applied for and was successful. As an ambitious person I always knew I wanted to become a manager, so after about a year as an RSW, I took on a senior RSW role. I worked as a senior for around 18 months and then I fell pregnant. After my maternity leave, I planned to come back full-time into the senior role but would have struggled to work the sleep-in shifts being a new mum. The company supported me to come back as a casual RSW with set shifts, which worked around my new routine.
Not long after, the deputy position came up at Ruby Lodge. I wondered if I would be able to go from casual straight to deputy, but with my previous experience as a senior, I knew I had the knowledge and skills I needed for this new role. I told my Manager I didn’t want my progression and development to stop just because I’d had a baby, and she was really supportive and encouraged me to put my application in. I was really pleased when I was successfully appointed!
What support has Hexagon Care provided to aid your progression?
I’m currently enrolled on the Aspiring Leadership Programme (ALP), which I will complete in April 2023. Being on the course has already helped me so much in my deputy role – I can put the theoretical things I have learnt into practice back in the home and I’ve learned a lot about my own leadership style. I was always good at the paperwork side of things, but the ALP is helping me to learn more about leading and managing teams.
Has anyone inspired you on your journey?
Gav Meakin (who is now a Dual Registered Manager for Hexagon Care) was my senior RSW at Ruby Lodge back when I was a casual. He just blew me away as he knew all about the care sector and what it was all about, what we were wanting to achieve for the young people - he was really knowledgeable. It was really comforting to have someone to support my growth into the RSW role. It’s been inspiring to watch him on his own journey to become a registered manager over the past few years, and it’s fuelled my own ambition to eventually manage my own home.
Most importantly, you need to be a good role model.
What are the most important attributes for a successful residential care manager?
Most importantly, you need to be a good role model. Your team is looking at you to watch how you do something or how you deal with a situation, so you need to be a good motivator and encourage your team to do things the right way. Everything we do should be the right thing for our young people, so it’s important that we embed clear policies and procedures for staff to follow.
What’s your favourite thing about being a deputy manager?
I love working with people. Not only am I here for the young people we look after, but I’m also there for my staff team. I enjoy sharing the skills and knowledge I have gained over the years with my staff, to help them to provide the best support possible for our young people.
What’s your favourite thing about working for Hexagon Care?
No matter what I’ve been through, the support from Hexagon Care has always been there. There’s always someone I can call for advice, whether that’s someone at Head Office or my Service Manager, or even another home manager or deputy – the support network is amazing. The company definitely have the right tools in place for providing a very high level of professional and emotional support.
The company definitely have the right tools in place for providing a very high level of professional and emotional support.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m most proud when a young person leaves us and moves on to live independently. Even when they leave us, I keep in regular contact with them to make sure they are ok. It’s hard for young people when they turn 18 and have to leave care; after living with us for 4 or 5 years it’s amazing we still get the opportunity to support them and offer them advice. Some of our care leavers have even come back to the home to speak to our current young people about their own care journey and how it has helped them to build a better life, and that makes me so proud.
What are your goals for the future?
After doing the ALP course, I would love to become a registered manager. Eventually, my end goal would be to work my way up to service manager. My Service Manager Louise Whitby has just been promoted to Deputy Head of Care within Hexagon Care and I think- ‘I’d love to be like her one day’.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of a career with Hexagon Care?
The key to this job is the ability to build relationships, especially with our young people. As long as you have the right personal attributes, (friendliness, positivity, empathy, resilience, good sense of humour etc.) Hexagon Care offer the right training and support to make you the best support worker you can be. The opportunities for progression are excellent for those who want to advance in their career.