It takes a special person to work in the care sector, but you could possess those unique skills without even knowing it. Skills and qualifications can be learnt, but we place more value on having the right attitude and approach. We spoke to Donna Ireland, Head of Operations at Les Amis about how a chance application has led to a full and varied career at one of Jersey’s most rewarding charities.
As a full-time mum with an interest in helping those with disabilities, I applied to help out part time as a carer. I was surprised when my application was successful as I had no qualifications. What started as some casual work has turned into a lifelong passion.
We’re constantly adjusting to new environments and legislation. I make sure that everyone at Les Amis has what they need to continue to have a positive impact on our residents’ lives. I provide training to staff as well as ensuring we comply with governance and requirements.
It’s challenging but life affirming and I’ve learned that the higher you climb the more impact you can have. Les Amis have offered me an amazing opportunity to carve out a career for myself; they invest heavily in their staff.
You have to be passionate about helping others. It would suit those who are patient, caring, who teach or support others. In many ways these are the skills a lot of parents would possess.
From starting as a carer, I went on to coordinate one of our care homes, then took on the role of Deputy Projects Manager. I’ve been in my role as Head of Operations for four years. The confidence I’ve built has made a big difference to my life outside of work.
They offer incredible training and support their ambitions. I’ve been able to gain my CMI Level 5 qualification in Leadership and Management which means I would be well placed for any career in management. They take notice of anyone who wants a challenge or has special interests we could use.
We’ve gone from a small establishment in 1975 to one of the largest and most respected charities of about 200 employees. People understand what we do because of our efforts towards educating about those with learning disabilities. I don't think Les Amis was regarded as somewhere where you could have a long career, but now it can be a career for life.
That we take people from everywhere, irrespective of their skills. People don’t realise the skills they possess that would make them an asset. You can always train staff to gain qualifications, but we really look at those that have natural empathy.
If you think you have what it takes to work for Les Amis or would like more information please get in touch with us.
Les Amis Limited Registered Charity No. 232 | LA Incorporated No.231 | Association of Jersey Charities Number: AJC 113