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Three years ago Tracy Bass decided to make a complete change to her career direction after a lifetime in administration roles, all to “give something back” to her grandmother’s generation.
Now aged 44, Tracy is forging ahead on a career path inspired by the care she witnessed at her grandmother’s care home. She’s also on a learning journey with Progress to Excellence Ltd, where she constantly pushes herself to raise the bar of her own achievements while expanding her skills and knowledge in the health and social care sector.
Tracy decided to follow a career in care after going to see her grandmother, who was resident in an Orders of St John Care Home Trust nursing home in Gloucester.
She said: “I used to regularly visit my Nan with my girls and my mum and dad, and we were always made to feel welcome. The care she had was outstanding.
“I’d been doing administration work for different companies along with bringing up my three children but, after seeing first-hand how good care can make such a difference, I felt I would like to give something back to the elderly for everything they have done for us.
“I knew it was going to be a career I would either love or hate. But I also knew I had to give it a go and at least say that I tried.”
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Fortunately, it turned out to be a career Tracy absolutely loves – so much so that she can’t learn enough about it.
Tracy began work as a Relief Carer at Hungerford House Care Home in Corsham, Wiltshire, which is part of the Orders of St John Care Home Trust. She quickly rose to the post of Carer, and soon undertook her studies at level 2 in health and social care. She gained this initial qualification within six months and then went on to complete several Social Care TV courses and opted to upskill herself from a level 1 to level 2 in Functional Skills.
In fact, it was this dedication to learning that led to Tracy being nominated as Learner of the Year in the Progress to Excellence Training and Education Awards 2017.
Tracy has now been promoted to Care Lead and has started studying a level 2 Team Leading apprenticeship, which follows the Orders of St John career progression route.
In charge of eight carers on any one shift, Tracy is responsible for the running of Hungerford House out-of-hours. Her duties are to ensure the carers carry out the best possible care for residents as well as supporting staff with any issues that may arise.
Tracy, who has three children aged between 23 and four, continued: “My youngest was 18 months old when I started out as a Relief Carer. This was brilliant as I could choose my hours to suit me and my family.
“From the very outset, I have absolutely loved my job and my residents – although it’s not without its challenges.
“I love the feeling of fulfilment and to see my residents smile, laugh and share their life stories with me. I feel honoured that they trust me enough to open up about even the darkest days that they have gone through. We share good days, bad days and many special occasions. I can come away after a shift feeling tired but really fulfilled.”
Tracy chose to embark on her apprenticeship studies in order to gain extra experience in her new-found career, wanting to move up the ladder and push herself to new levels.
She explained: “I am now doing my Team Leading qualification as it has replaced the level 3 Health and Social Care qualification for us. I believe it will help with being a Care Leader and give me extra knowledge of how to lead a successful team.
“I enjoy learning and researching different topics and I get a sense of achievement after every piece of coursework is complete. I am also getting a better understanding of all aspects of care, including how the home is run and what other people’s roles are within the care sector.
“The style of learning is brilliant. I can pick up my coursework whenever I am able to, usually when my girls are at school or in bed. My tutors have been brilliant too and always manage to fit in around my shifts or home life, always there to help whenever needed – even for the smallest issue or a bit of self-confidence.
“I really have my learning head on now so want to work even harder and gain as many qualifications as possible. I felt such a sense of achievement after completing my Health and Social Care level 2 that I now totally believe in myself and that I can do this learning thing all over again!”