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Mayfield & Framfield — East Sussex 01435 872 201

My career as waking night residential childcare practitioner – I’ve never loved a job so much!

I started to work in retail when I was 16 years old and worked my way up.  Before I knew it, I was the Bakery Manager but I couldn’t help thinking that I wanted to do something more rewarding.  I’m naturally a ’mothering’ person and knew that working with children would be something that I would be good at, and would give me more of a sense of purpose.    

During the Covid pandemic, I decided to do a level 3 qualification in Autism and one in Early Years Childcare and I then started to apply to places that I thought would be interesting to work at.  After chatting to the recruitment team at PJL – initially about a job at Framfield Children’s Home, they told me that there was a vacancy on the night team at Mayfield.  When I heard more about the job and the hours, I realised that this could be it . . . a job that would be rewarding and that works really well with my young children and my husband who works shifts as a firefighter.

Because of the restrictions of Covid, my interview was on Teams, and I hadn’t even been to the home when I started work, but even on that first day I knew it was the best decision ever to make that change.

This is a job that allows you (and encourages you!) to bring your personality to work.  It’s like having another family and I love them all!  It is a cliché but you really do make a difference in this job.  By supporting and encouraging them you can make a big impact on the children’s lives.  We don’t define any of the children by any disability or difference that they may have, we see them as individuals with individual needs and personalities and we are here to give them the warmth, love and security that they deserve to enable them to thrive.  I recently did some day shifts to help out and I really enjoyed that too – I loved seeing the children doing different, daytime activities and it helped me to build stronger relationships with them.

As a shift leader, my priority when I get to work is to make sure that my team is aware of any important information for that night.  Making sure that the home is clean and tidy, and the packed lunches are ready for school is important, as is the paperwork; but my priority with the child that I am looking after that night, is settling them for bed.  Whatever I do or say as they drift to sleep is the last positive thing they will experience that day, and for me, saying the best ‘goodnight’ is the priority.

It’s important to me to keep learning and keeping up to date, and the training here is amazing, I’ve never heard of another company where training is so in-depth and on such a wide range of topics.   We all work towards the Level 3 Diploma in Residential Childcare, and as I had already done my Level 3 in Autism and Early Years Childcare, it meant that I was able to achieve this in just 6 months which I was proud of.  As well as the mandatory training and refresher courses, I’ve also completed two additional Level 2 qualifications in young people’s mental health and safeguarding children.

I’ve never loved a job so much.  No night is ever the same – but I love that and look forward to every shift.  We are such a close team, and we all support each other.  The children come first in all we do but there’s also a great sense of fun!

If you asked me what I’d say to someone who might be thinking of joining the team, I’d say, “Take the jump!  You won’t regret it and if you’ve got the love . . . share it!”