Colleague Stories

Rob Wheatley

My journey from Accountant to HC-One Nurse

"My journey with HC-One has been incredibly rewarding, but as an accountant turned nurse, it certainly hasn’t been your typical career path.

Back in the early 2000s when I was working as an accountant, if you’d told me I’d be working in the care sector in 20 years’ time, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. However, roll on a few years and working with numbers all day just wasn’t quite giving me the fulfilment I was after, so I started to reconsider my career as I wanted to make more of a difference.

After seeking out a few different options, I settled on a career in health and social care after being inspired by an incredibly passionate healthcare assistant who cared for my mother during her final few days in hospital. It was that one moment that inspired an accountant to seek a new career in the healthcare sector.

My journey began while working in my local hospital as a healthcare assistant, during which time I enrolled with my local university to study a degree in nursing. I absolutely loved my job, particularly working in the hustle and bustle of A&E, and was surprised to see how transferable my skills were as I pursued my new career in the healthcare sector.

However, I’d see so many people come and go that I decided I’d like to work somewhere I can form long-standing relationships with people. And that’s how I came to land my first care home role in September 2015 at Hollymere House in Crewe, a part of HC-One, the Kind Care Company.

I loved my time as a nurse at Hollymere House, as I supported Residents to live their very best life, helping improve their health and wellbeing and learning about their life stories along the way. I also created meaningful bonds with many local families, whose loved ones I helped to look after.

After a few years and close mentoring from my senior Colleagues, I developed my leadership skills and was invited to apply for the Home Manager position at Hollymere House. As much as I loved my career as a Nurse, I was keen to put my new skills to use as Home Manager and applied, later finding out that I had got the job!

Becoming a Home Manager was an extremely proud moment for me. I could continue making a difference to our Residents’ lives day in, day out, but now I got to make a difference to the fantastic team at Hollymere House, too. I had the opportunity to build on relationships, not only with our residents and relatives but also within the wider community and introduced new initiatives. It was exciting seeing the difference we could make.

After a few years of going from strength to strength as Home Manager, I felt ready to take my next step with HC-One and applied for the Area Director position and was pleased to find out I had been successful.

I’ve been an Area Director at HC-One for a few years now, and I can truly say I love it just as much as every other role I’ve pursued with this organisation. Yet now, I get to work alongside and mentor a group of Home Managers and pass on the valuable skills and knowledge my mentors taught me, which is incredibly rewarding.

Ultimately, though, the aim of each role I’ve had within HC-One remains the same: to deliver the kindest possible care, which means guiding and helping people with their worries and concerns so they can focus on the things that mean most to them. Delivering kind care is the most rewarding career in the world so, for anyone considering a career in care, all I can say is to go for it."

Claire Turner

From Housekeeper to Deputy Home Manager at HC-One

“Since my first ever job as a Housekeeper in a care home, I have always worked in care and cannot imagine working anywhere else.

I have worked for HC-One since its inception and have had several different roles in my time here, since starting out as a Care Assistant with HC-One in my local care home.

I love talking and making people laugh, so I took to being a Care Assistant like a duck to water. I would listen to our Residents’ life stories and find out more about their past, their achievements, and their aspirations, which is such a heartwarming part of working in the care industry.

Throughout the years at HC-One, I learned what it meant to deliver kind care – to promote respect, dignity and happiness in a safe environment, while catering to each individual’s needs. With the support of my manager, I shadowed my peers and continued to develop my skills, eventually taking on more responsibility in the care of our Residents along the way.

During my journey, I briefly went to work at another care home provider in my local area. However, I knew my heart was with HC-One and when I saw the Deputy Home Manager position was available at Colton Lodges, I jumped at the opportunity. I was ecstatic to find out I had been successful in achieving the position and since returning to HC-One in October 2021, I can already see they are investing in me.

I am currently undertaking my Level 5 qualification in Care Home Management, to further develop my knowledge and skills, and HC-One’s Learning and Development team are supporting me to complete this course alongside my role as Deputy Home Manager.

I am also supported by Colton Lodge’s Home Manager, Dani, to help enhance the quality of life of our Residents, by learning how to complete audits, assist with interviews, completing risk assessments, and ensuring we adhere to all relevant policies and procedures. In addition, I am also helping to support and coach my Colleagues, to help them see that they can grow and develop like I did, should they wish.

Ultimately, HC-One has helped me realise that no dream is too big and that with the right support network around you, you can grow into anything you want to be. For me, though, the most important thing is that I am making a difference to our Residents, something I have achieved in every role I have held at HC-One.”

Kinga Kowaliczek

From beekeeper to award-winning Home Manager at HC-One

“Pursuing a career in care wasn’t always my plan, but now I’d never look back.

My first job was as an assistant beekeeper working in my father’s apiary – a far stretch from working in a care home! However, I listened to the stories my sister Sylwia told about her job in a care home and could see how much she enjoyed it, so, feeling inspired, I applied for my first ever Care Assistant role at a local care home in 2013. Even in my first few weeks, I knew care was for me and worked hard to learn the ropes as a Care Assistant and continue to gain experience in the industry.

In 2016, I applied for a new role at HC-One’s Fleming Court care home in Jesmond, where I joined the company as Senior Care Assistant. I loved my new job and recognised early on that HC-One was somewhere I could progress, as my team invested significant time in developing my skills to ensure I could deliver the highest possible standard of care to our Residents.

As I grew into the role, I was keen to take on more responsibility and further my knowledge and was later promoted to Deputy Home Manager at Springfield House in 2017. This was another role I truly loved, as I enjoyed helping lead the fabulous care team while continuing to put a smile on my Residents’ faces. HC-One were there to support me along every step and, even after I returned from my maternity break in 2019, I settled straight back into my role as Deputy Home Manager thanks to the kindness of my team.

In my time as Deputy Home Manager, I was able to learn from the very best Home Managers and gained a better understanding of standards and compliance and developed relationships with GPs, social workers and the local NHS. Once again, I felt prepared to take the next step in my journey and applied for the Home Manager position at nearby care home, Greenways Court.

When I found out I was successful in achieving the position, I was ecstatic – my hard work and dedication to learning had paid off, and I was responsible for leading kind care at Greenways Court. I felt recognised and driven by my Colleagues, and was keen to make a difference to the Residents and their families as Home Manager.

In my role as Home Manager, I help maintain dignity and choice for my Residents, while being legally responsible for the quality assurance and compliance at Greenways Court. I have truly loved each of my jobs with HC-One, as no two days are ever the same working in a care home, but I must admit the Home Manager role is my most exciting journey yet. I even won the National Award for Registered Home Manager at the Great British Care Awards in March 2022!

If I could give advice to anyone seeking a career in care, all I can say is the sky is the limit! At HC-One, not only do I recognise the team’s commitment to my learning and development, but I am extremely grateful to my Residents and Colleagues at Greenways Court for giving me a sense of reward and pride when I finish each working day.”

Oliver Clothier

From starting out in a seaside café to Development Chef at HC-One

“From working in a café on Weymouth seafront, to helping lead hundreds of chefs across the UK, I am so proud of how far I’ve come with the support of HC-One.

I’ve always had a real passion for food and even from a young age I knew catering was the right career path for me. After school, I started my journey by cooking and cleaning in a seaside café, and eventually grew into a number of chef roles in local restaurants and hotels.

As much as I enjoyed these jobs, I just didn’t feel I was having the impact I wanted to. I’d always been inspired by Jamie Oliver and the way he made cooking fun while educating people about how to eat better really shone for me. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and make a difference to people’s lives with high-quality food - that’s where HC-One comes in.

In May 2018, I started my first job at HC-One as the Head Chef at Oaklands care home in Essex. From my very first day I loved my role and enjoyed interacting with Residents, listening to their feedback and making sure their mealtimes were a positive experience.

One of my favourite memories as Head Chef was just three weeks into the role, when I delivered a buffet for a Relatives’ meeting. This was my way of introducing myself as the Head Chef of Oaklands and enabled me to put my stamp on the role and showcase my ability within catering. Residents and Relatives loved the food and they all welcomed me so nicely.

After three years of running the kitchen at Oaklands I recognised the impact I had on my team, as I helped them learn and grow in confidence when cooking food for our Residents. HC-One provided training along the way, which helped develop my knowledge at a pace that suited me. I loved sharing my wisdom and was keen help make an even bigger impact at HC-One, which is what led me to apply for the Development Chef position in 2021.

After a thorough interview process, where I demonstrated my knowledge of catering for our Residents and evidenced my professional growth with HC-One, I was pleased to find out I had been offered the job. During my transition from Head Chef to Development Chef, I was closely mentored by my line manager Mark Meacham, who has always given me the confidence to progress and has helped me feel like I have a voice within the company.

Now, as Development Chef I am responsible for delivering training, guidance, and support to hundreds of Head Chefs across our care homes in England, Scotland and Wales. I also develop varied menus to ensure our Residents’ dietary requirements and, above all, quality of life are fulfilled in a kind and dignified way.

My biggest achievement with HC-One is progressing to a more senior role in catering, where I am able to share my opinion and continuously strive to make improvements for our Residents. Ultimately, though, I am proud to be able to make a difference to people’s lives. I truly believe that all people deserve to enjoy good, high-quality food, and this shouldn’t change when people move into a care home. That’s the reason I pursued a career in the care industry.”

Patience Rocha

From Care Assistant to Home Manager at HC-One’s Perry Locks care home

“When I started my journey with HC-One’s Perry Locks care home in 2015, I never believed I could one day become Home Manager, but HC-One inspired me to achieve my dream career.

After finishing school, I started my career as a junior public relations officer, but after becoming a mother I was keen to find a more flexible job to work around childcare. I considered various career options and eventually decided on working in care due to being inspired by my grandmother, who worked hard as a young widow to care for her children. This is what led me to apply for the Care Assistant role at Perry Locks care home in Birmingham.

From the moment I started my career in care, I knew it was the right job for me. I went home each night feeling a great sense of reward and fulfilment, knowing I had made a difference to our Residents’ lives. This motivated me to always make the biggest impact to our Residents that I can and gave me the appetite to progress at Perry Locks.

In 2017, I progressed to the Senior Care Assistant position and was keen to develop my skills as much as possible. I enrolled for an adult nursing degree at my local university and was supported throughout my course by the team at HC-One, as I continued to work part time at Perry Locks alongside my studies.

With my growing knowledge and insight into the nursing profession, I was later promoted to Unit Manager and was delighted to take responsibility for ensuring best care and outcomes for our Residents while leading my Colleagues to follow best practice in care. I gained a newfound confidence as Unit Manager and, with a couple of years’ experience in the role, I took the next step in my career as Deputy Home Manager.

In this role, I enjoyed helping lead the team and took every opportunity to learn from my peers, including my Home Manager and Area Director. Again, I felt ready for an increase in responsibility, and, with the support and encouragement of my team, I progressed to my current role as Home Manager in 2021.

While I have worn many different hats at Perry Locks, the truth is that I have loved every single job here and cannot wait to see where the future takes me. From Care Assistant through to Home Manager, I have found each role truly rewarding and recognise the difference I make to our Residents and their families – that is what motivates me to go to work each day.

For anyone looking to pursue a career in care, I would strongly encourage them to go for it – you will be supported to achieve your career goals, you will enjoy a job where no two days are the same, and ultimately you will go to sleep each night knowing you are making a difference.”

Christen San Pedro

My journey from Care Assistant to Area Director at HC-One

“Having started out as a physiotherapist in the Philippines, to now supporting a number of care homes as Area Director at HC-One, my career journey has certainly been rewarding. 

“I’ve always been passionate about caring for people, so when I sought out a change in career from physiotherapy after having my daughter, it felt like working in a care home was the obvious option.

“My first role in care was as a physical therapy aide in a nursing home in Singapore, but after two years I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to work in the UK as a Senior Care Assistant. I started working at HC-One’s Chaseview care home and hit the ground running. I knew instantly that this would be a job I loved, and it also enabled me to support my family back in the Philippines.

“After three years of working between Chaseview in Burntwood and Aspen Court in London, I had been promoted to a Team Leader, where I was given the opportunity to undertake my Leadership and Management course. This learning gave me the knowledge and confidence to apply for the Deputy Home Manager position with HC-One, which I truly loved as I became ever more involved with my Residents’ care and helped mentor my Colleagues.

“By 2013, I’d been working in care for nine years and had developed my knowledge to grasp everything from delivering kind care to understanding standards and compliance. I decided I was ready for my next step at HC-One and applied for the Home Manager position at Alexander care centre and was delighted to find out I had been successful.

“As Home Manager, I loved leading my team to deliver the kindest possible care to our Residents, by helping establish a safe and welcoming environment for Colleagues, Residents, and their families. It was a role I really flourished in, and I later supported other local HC-One homes in the area too, including Aspen Court and Tower Bridge. In 2019, I was given the opportunity to be an Area Director/Area Quality Director for three homes, while still being a Registered Manager of Tower Bridge Care Centre.

“In March 2021, three additional homes were added to my portfolio as an Area Director. This role is the most rewarding part of my journey at HC-One so far, as I support six homes in the London area to deliver person-centred care to some of the most vulnerable people in society. Knowing I help our Home Managers and their teams to make a real difference to hundreds of Residents is incredibly rewarding.

“My biggest achievement at HC-One is building a positive relationship with local authorities in my area, who I know trust in me and my team to deliver the highest possible standard of care. I have also helped to mentor and develop Colleagues who I have since seen progress to Deputy Home Managers, as I truly believe anything is possible with the right support and mentoring at HC-One.”