• 30 September 2021
  • 5 min read

How A Job In Hospitality Prepared Me For My Career As A Care Assistant

  • Sarah Kiernan
    Care Assistant
    • Mat Martin
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 409
“The curveball of a global pandemic was threatening to finish my career so far and, ultimately, force me to lose my income.” 

Sarah talks us through her journey from Hospitality, to Care Assistant and explains how COVID changed everything.

Topics covered in this article

Where It All Began 

When Covid Hit

Skills For Life

The Upside

Where It All Began

It all started when I was 18 and began work for a hospitality agency in London.

Working events such as Ascot, Goodwood and various festivals, was a great place to start.

I got to build my initial confidence and meet new people whilst working events where the likes of Gok Wan rocked up to a Costa counter demanding a ‘proper coffee’.

Back then, I had no idea how to make a ‘proper coffee’, or even pour a pint, but those came later.

The soft skills I learnt, however, were born that summer and saw me through the seven years after that.

After years of perfecting the best pint, martinis and plate balancing, I sadly had to move on.

The curveball of a global pandemic was threatening to finish my career so far and, ultimately, force me to lose my income.

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When Covid Hit

When the pandemic hit, I was working in a restaurant that closed its doors earlier than the proposed date.

This meant I was on furlough and, although I didn’t know it at the time, that was the end of my hospitality career.

It also signified the start of my career in care.

In March 2020, I was told the restaurant would be closing due to the pandemic.

This left us all with a feeling of uncertainty and fear as we didn’t know when our next paycheque would come.

I wondered if I’d ever work again.

One thing I knew was that I needed another job.

I had the soft skills of effective communication, flexibility and confidence. I knew I had a good work ethic, and after three months of sitting at home during the lockdown, I needed a job.

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I knew that getting a job in hospitality was not an option, but where to start when my entire work life had been in that industry?

I started where any other sane person would: I applied for everything and anything in the local area and found a job as a housekeeper in the care home I work in now.

It wasn’t until January of this year I began working as a Care Assistant and realised just how much I’d been preparing for this my entire life so far.

Skills For Life

Hospitality involves a lot of one core skill, and if you don’t develop or have this skill from the offset, you can kiss those end of the night Erdingers goodbye.

That skill is communication.

In hospitality, you need communication to engage with customers, find out what they want or don’t want, and without it, someone could potentially have an allergic reaction (worst case scenario).

Communication in care is equally if not arguably more important.

Hospitality prepared me for this as in both sectors you will engage with people from young to elderly.

Learning how to adapt your communication style to each one is crucial.

Confidence has never been my strong suit, but hospitality has a unique way of kicking the shy out of anyone.

When it came to translating that to a career in care, it meant I’d dared to build up a rapport with my colleagues relatively quickly so that learning and gaining confidence in the actual role as a care assistant was a little easier.

Confidence also allowed me to ‘fake it till I made it’, as whenever you start with something new you are out of your comfort and skill zone.

Teamwork makes the dream work, or so we said in countless work environments I’ve been in over the years.

To survive in hospitality, you need to work well as a group of individuals with a common goal.

Equally, being a Care Assistant in a residential home would amount to not much without a great team.

In hospitality, I learnt what makes good teamwork and have adapted that in my current role by communicating effectively and adapting my style of work to others to gain the best out of a shift.

If I am working with someone whose strong suit is not activities, I will include but not push them into participating and I would be the one to take the lead.

The Upside

Hospitality gave me some core skills to, I feel, navigate my way through any industry.

Yet care is such a unique and vast industry to work in that having those initial skills gave me the boost needed.

To navigate through a career where your main job is to care for people, soft skills such as communication and teamwork are essential.

The ‘hard’ skills that come with the job, that comes with experience and time.

I had no idea that care would be a possibility of a career for me, but for some reason, I took to it like a duck to water.

The essential foundation of caring is something that graduates as we grow up, and it’s the ultimate skill in care that anyone needs.

Going forward, I hope to gain more skills and become a Mental Health Nurse. The job of caring presents many challenges on a day today, but it also presents countless rewards. Helping people, and doing it right, brings a smile not only to their face but yours.

I never knew that a simple walk in the garden or cup of tea could bring such joy to someone but it can.

Working in the care sector, as I have come to realise, can be life-changing.

Not just for the carers but also for the people they are caring for.

 

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About the author

  • Sarah Kiernan
    Care Assistant

Sarah is a Care Assistant at a residential care home. She is 26 years old and was working in hospitality until Covid and furlough came in to play. She worked within care and hospitality last year and also transitioned from housekeeper to Care Assistant within the same care home.

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  • Sarah Kiernan
    Care Assistant

About the author

  • Sarah Kiernan
    Care Assistant

Sarah is a Care Assistant at a residential care home. She is 26 years old and was working in hospitality until Covid and furlough came in to play. She worked within care and hospitality last year and also transitioned from housekeeper to Care Assistant within the same care home.

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