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Driving social mobility for equity of opportunities

by Kirsty Kirsty

Trina Oliver, Regional Director – Extra Care, Mears Group

I came to Mears in 2009, initially working in a payroll position in Norwich. My first job was on a YTS scheme as an apprentice hairdresser before becoming an accounts office junior, so I’d come from a fairly standard office background. It’s fair to say that prior to joining Mears, I had never considered a career in care.  But that all changed shortly after arriving, as I quickly became interested in the sector and asked to attend the induction training, so I could understand more about what it involved. This led to further training, and it wasn’t long until I rolled my sleeves up and began providing ad-hoc care to our service users to support my colleagues whenever the team needed an extra pair of hands for any reason.

That initial opportunity developed into a role as a Compliance Officer and visiting families and service users on a daily basis became permanent. From there, I became a registered CQC manager, then Operations Manager before moving into my current role in 2015.

It’s been quite a journey and that’s because Mears recognised my commitment in those early days and gave me the opportunity to gain new skills and training for my future career – something I never would have imagined. I hold a Level 5 NVQ in Health & Social Care and have undergone extensive management training.

Mears’ recognition as a Top 75 Social Mobility Employer is testament to the importance the organisation places on giving everyone an opportunity – irrespective of their background or existing skills and experience. The emphasis is instead on the individual and the potential they bring – something which is particularly important in care because of the challenges that it can so often present. Who better to provide person-centred care than someone who can bring their whole self to work – their personality, smile and – just like me – roll their sleeves up from the very start?

In my team today, some of our most exceptional carers are returning mums, young people with no previous care experience and people who have simply discovered a passion for caring. All our care staff are paid above the National Living Wage as a minimum and have access to a wealth of benefits, industry leading support and opportunities to progress – something which I’m very proud to champion.

Mears really does take its responsibility to social mobility very seriously and our hope is that wherever we work, we contribute to that community as an employer, a local partner and a driver of opportunity.

Mears gave me the opportunity and I ran with it – and it’s wholly down to the culture and environment they’ve created.

Image depicts Trina Oliver, Regional Director – Extra Care, Mears Group

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