Name: Nikki Barrell
Degree: Management and Entrepreneurship at Lancaster University
Job: Graduate Management Trainee in Adult Social Care
What do you actually do?
I am currently on a year long graduate management scheme in adult social care with the National Skills Academy for Social Care. This involves me splitting my time between the national charity The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and the local charity Blackburn with Darwen Carers Centre. This has allowed me to gain a diverse perspective of management in social care both on a national level and from a local service provider perspective.
Why did you decide to go into this sector?
I really enjoyed my degree in Management and Entrepreneurship but felt that I wanted to work towards a career that would help people rather than just taking the traditional route into the private sector. I always believed that managerial roles and caring roles were opposing ideas so when I found a graduate scheme that would allow me to combine both of these I jumped at the opportunity.
How did you find out about your particular course?
I signed up for job updates with milkround.com and received an email regarding the National Skills Academy for Social Care and in particular the launch of the first graduate scheme in adult social care.
What do you like most about what you do and are there any downsides?
I love about this graduate scheme is the diversity from one day to the next. I have gone from a national roundtable social care discussion with HRH the Princess Royal and Care Services Minister Phil Hope to involvement in a local carers support group for family members with alcohol and substance misuse. This year has allowed me to really explore the field of social care and give me a taste of the many challenging but rewarding positions open to graduates.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do?
The nature of management in social care means that not only do you need the capability to lead and effectively manage but you also need compassion, commitment and the ability to listen.
What advice would you give graduates wishing to come into this sector?
Don’t dismiss management in the social care sector as a ‘soft option’. This growing sector is yearning for ambitious and committed graduates to take on the challenge of making a difference and directing the future of social care. Whether your aim is to be a managing director of a leading national organisation or a day-to-day manger of an important local service there really is a rewarding career at every level in this sector.