In January I undertook Christies Care’s induction training. This was the 5-day residential training course that all of our prospective new live-in carers went through, regardless of previous experience.

At lunch time on Monday I met up with my fellow inductees. In addition to myself and Jess (a new member of the Carer Support Team) there were 6 potential carers. Their ages ranged from 25 to 63. Some had never cared professionally while others had extensive experience in both live-in care and care home situations. They came from England, France, South Africa, Australia, Northern Ireland and Nigeria. The diversity of our little group is representative of Christies’ carers as a whole. They are of all ages, nationalities, levels of education (many of our carers have degrees), experience, gender (approximately 13% of our carers are men) and motivations for wanting to become live-in carers.

On the first day the group were quite reserved but, from total strangers at the start of the week, it was fascinating to witness the speed at which the group started to bond. This group dynamic was especially apparent when the written tests began. Whilst being understandably challenging, the tests were certainly not insurmountable. If someone failed to achieve the passing standard they were offered the chance to re-sit the test. When this happened everyone chipped in to help them revise and ultimately pass. In the evenings the group sat together going over their notes, quizzing each other and preparing for the next day. We did, regrettably, have one lady who decided not to re-sit one of the tests. This was more down to nerves than a lack of knowledge. It had been decades since she had been at school and simply became too stressed by the idea of written tests. There were 2 tests on subjects which hadn’t been taught, but were thoroughly documented in the Care Assistant’s Guidebook, a hefty tome which each carer keeps for future reference.

On the final day we all waited for confirmation that we had passed the course. Of course, not everyone does pass – we have a responsibility to our clients to ensure that any carer we introduce to them has the knowledge and skills to fulfill their care needs – but as long as you enter the process with a willingness and commitment to learn then there really is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t succeed.

When word came through that we were all successful, there was a genuine feeling of elation and achievement, even for Jess and myself whose jobs weren’t dependent on it. The entire group was united in their appreciation of the conscientious efforts of the training team. I don’t know if I just got lucky, but my induction group were a great bunch … friendly, helpful, diligent and one heck of a lot of fun and I wish them all the very best.

Very soon I’ll be bringing you the stories of their first introductions as they embark on an incredibly challenging but incredibly rewarding career as a live-in carer.