NCF rising stars 2019

Rebecca Ogujor is Registered Home Manager at The Salvation Army.

Career

After leaving college, I completed a management programme with a newsagent and managed a shop for two years before I saw an advert for a trainee clinical support worker. I moved into this role and worked on a dialysis unit where I completed an NVQ Level 3.

After a couple of years in this role, I applied to university to complete an Adult Nursing Diploma and worked as a domiciliary care worker alongside my university studies and placements.

Unfortunately, due to personal issues, I was not able to complete my nursing qualification, but I began working in a residential home for young adults with mental health issues as a senior support worker. This was where I had my first insight into care management.

After three years, I was faced with a tough decision, as I really enjoyed my position, but I wanted more of a challenge. My ambition to progress my career was strong and I applied for a role as a deputy manager in a residential care home, for a Christian organisation.

I stayed there for five years and really enjoyed my role, but my ambition began to get the better of me and I started craving more responsibility. I moved to work for a housing association as a service manager; there, I was responsible for the Sheltered Housing service, which consisted of 730 homes over 15 schemes. It was whilst working here that I achieved my Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership.

My next role was as a regional manager for a live-in care company. This covered the areas of Lancashire and Greater Manchester, supporting adults to stay at home with the support of a live-in carer. However, it has always been a goal of mine to be a registered manager and when I saw the post advertising for the role I currently hold, I just knew I had to apply for it.

Organisation

The home I work in now, Holt House, is a residential care home in Prestwich, Manchester. We have 31 beds over two floors and provide care for residents over the age of 65. It is owned and run by The Salvation Army, a Christian Church and charity and we accept both private and local authority residents.

The way I see it, the residents don’t live in my workplace, I work in their home. I encourage all my staff and residents to think like this too – we especially make this clear to new starters and anyone who visits the home so that everyone comes in with the same attitude.

It’s also hugely important to me that we all know and understand our residents. I am a big believer in relationship-centred care and we give all of our care workers dedicated time each week to spend with the residents they look after, doing things that improve the relationship between them, whether that’s having a shopping trip, making someone’s room nice, or a personalised activity – the resident and care worker decide between them how they’ll spend the time.

Current role

I have been in my current role for just over a year. It has been a great year – everything I expected – but it is hard to believe a year has passed so quickly.

As a home, we have achieved so many things, from refurbishments to maintaining great outcomes in our internal and external inspections.

Personally, I love my job, knowing that every day I come to work will be different, with new challenges and pressures, but knowing that each day you get to make someone happy.

A really tricky part of the role has been recruiting and retaining staff. However we have a brilliant staff team and they all consistently go above and beyond expectations, I feel very fortunate to have them.
A motivated team is such an essential part of running my home. I like to ensure they have the tools they need to do their jobs. I also make sure they know that I understand everyone is human and mistakes will be made. I encourage people to be open and honest about anything that doesn’t go to plan and my staff know they can come to me without getting into trouble.

I also like to instil confidence and see people progress if they want to. As an ambitious person myself, I’m supportive of people’s goals. I like having a happy home and happy staff are key to this.

Rising Stars

I had been out of the charity sector for a little while before my current role, but I am always looking for ways to improve my development.

When I saw the NCF Rising Stars programme in a weekly NCF newsletter, I felt it would be a great opportunity for me as a newly registered manager. I approached my line manager about the programme and was given the go ahead to apply; our Deputy Director of Older People’s Services, Glenda Roberts nominated me. I was really uplifted seeing what was written about me. It gave me affirmation that I’m doing well and achieving goals.

The opportunities that I have encountered so far as a Rising Star have completely blown me away; the networking, having a supportive team of other managers on the programme and the visits have been really worthwhile.

The main thing that has made a difference to me is the networking. We can all share best practice, and we look at each other’s CQC reports and support each other through the good and bad.

Another unexpected outcome of the programme has come from attending a technology day in September with Person Centred Software. I was made aware of funded training being offered from the NCF and Skills for Care – Digital Leadership Training. I was successful in securing a place, which is perfect timing, as we are about to pilot digitalised care planning.

Future career

For my next steps, I would like to complete a degree in business management and expand my strategic knowledge at a senior level. I am also interested in innovation and assistive technologies which can aid service delivery.

Advice

If I were offering advice to new or aspiring registered managers, I would say to believe in yourself and your abilities. As long as you are driven and passionate, you will succeed in what you wish to achieve.

NCF Rising Stars are provided with key leadership experiences delivered by the expertise of NCF partners. In February, the current cohort will visit Altura Learning, the online and blended training and learning provider, for a media skills training day.

In a consumer-led society, it is important for managers to not only be person-centred in their care provision but also focused on the importance of building relationships. As ambassadors for their service and organisation, managers need to have an understanding of how they present themselves and their customer service skills.

Caroline Coogan, Registered Manager, New Outlook (2018 Rising Star) said, ‘The skills that I have learnt will be used daily, particularly the techniques to answer difficult questions and being aware of facial expressions.’

To find out more about the Media Training Day with Altura Learning and the NCF Rising Stars Programme, visit the Rising Stars page on the NCF website.

Now in its third year, the NCF Rising Stars Programme addresses the need to invest in and develop the skills of the next generation of leaders in social care, with registered managers from the NCF membership selected to take part each year. For more information, contact Helen Glasspool at National Care Forum. Email: helen.glasspool@nationalcareforum.org.uk Twitter: @NCFCareForum

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