HOME carer Trish Hopwood has travelled a long way from pedalling around her local village attending to local residents, to being responsible for the organisation of support for hundreds of people across Aberdeenshire.
At the age of 39, Trish looked to take on a part-time job to plug the gap as her children started school – and now sixteen years later, she finds herself responsible for the management of home carers in Aberdeenshire’s Central region.
Her career path has taken her on a journey across many differing but vital parts of the home care service, but Trish admits she still thrives on being able to provide care that allows people to live independently in their own homes.
She said: “The best bit for me was greeting the client in the morning, and seeing how pleased they are to see you. Even after battling the wind, rain and snow –which could be challenging at times – the smile on their face made it all worthwhile.”
Trish, 55, started out as a part-time carer in her home village of Aboyne, but soon had to trade in her trusty bicycle for a car that allowed her the opportunity to further her career across the region.
She explained: “I really enjoyed my job and wanted to learn more, so I signed up for as many training courses as I could. The more I did for people with various disabilities, the more I wanted to learn about their conditions.
“With the support of the home care team, I gained lots of transferrable knowledge and skills.
“I learned a lot from my clients and I loved the time I had with them, hearing about their life stories and families.
“It is important that anyone going into the care profession really cares about people and that they have good listening and observation skills.”
In 2009, Trish took a step into management when she became home care manager, with responsibility for the delivery of care to thousands of residents throughout Aberdeenshire.
Trish added: “As home care manager, my role is to lead the team and ensure ongoing service provision within my allocated budget. I am also responsible for staff management, including recruitment, selection, staff development, mentoring and appraisal.
“I enjoy this challenge as I can help improve the system for our clients.
“When I became a home carer, I thought of it as a little part-time job to keep me occupied as my kids went to school, but it turned into a career. I am so glad I did it, and would encourage others to take any opportunities that come your way.
“Don’t be afraid to try something new, as look where it got me.”