#CouldYouCare? - inspirational nan led Stevenage man to change careers and become a carer

Stevenage carer Bradley Bliss.

Stevenage carer Bradley Bliss. - Credit: Archant

The inspiration of his nan, a carer for more than 40 years, led Stevenage resident Bradley Bliss down a new career path.

Bradley Bliss, 21, started on Herts county council’s health and social care training programme in September 2015, having previously worked in retail and had trained in construction building ICT.

“I help my nan out at home with my grandad, who has MS and is partially blind, and my uncle who has autism.

“Nan said that I’d be an amazing carer so I looked it up and thought ‘this is the job for me’. I was escorting my uncle one day to his day centre and asked the manager if there were any training opportunities there. She suggested a level two apprenticeship; I didn’t get onto the course but I came across the level one apprenticeship on the website and so I applied for that.”

As part of the course students study for one day and spend the rest of the week on placement, usually doing two or three placements over the course of the year. Bradley is currently on placement at Scarborough House, a residential supported living facility in Stevenage and is working with people with disabilities.

“I’ve now worked my way through my level one and I’ll be finishing my level two apprenticeship in October. It’s been a real eye-opener meeting all these new people every day and seeing how one thing can change your life completely. I’ve also developed new skills; I’ve found new ways of communicating with people and it’s built my confidence.

“When I started I couldn’t talk in groups – I can even do karaoke now!”

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“I just love the people; there is something so rewarding in seeing someone who can’t communicate verbally because of their disability smile at something you have said or done: you know that you’re making a difference to people’s lives.

“It’s more than just a job, and I’d done lots of things previously, it can be difficult at times when you know there’s a situation you can’t change due to someone’s health and its hard to watch because you build a bond with the people you care for; but I wouldn’t change it.”

Bradley has recently received some great news, based on his progress so far he has been offered a position and a promotion with the team at Scarborough House upon successfully completing his apprenticeship. “I’m chuffed, it’s a full time position plus it’s a promotion so I’ll be able to administer different medications; almost all of my clients have Epilepsy and so knowing that I can help if they have a fit is a really great feeling.”

Bradley wasn’t aware of the lack of men in the profession until he started his career path: “I was completely surprised to discover that I’m was the only man in my class – it’s completely dominated by females. It’s a shame because most people appreciate having a male around because we’re handy for heavy lifting and the male clients we care for always appreciate having another guy around for more male-focused conversation.”

He advises anyone who has a caring nature to consider a rewarding career in the care sector: “I’d say go for it, it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. The prospects are great, you can go as high as you want.”

Herts county council is supporting our #CouldYouCare campaign - search Herts Good Care for more information on how to make a career out of caring.

In Herts we need to recruit 2,000 extra care staff each year, mostly to provide care for people in their own homes, just to keep pace with increasing demand for care services.

To find out about job opportunities as a carer in Herts, visit www.hertfordshirecarejobs24.co.uk