Amanda Rae: my career journey in adult social care
We caught up with Amanda Rae, a Locality Lead based in the Health Interface team for Sedgemoor and West Somerset.
We asked Amanda to reflect on her career to date with Somerset County Council and how she’s gone from working as an Advanced Social Care Practitioner to becoming the Lead she is today.
Could you introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Amanda, 43yr old, living on the sunny, slightly damp Exmoor Hills. I have one son who is Autistic and now lives independently in neighbouring Devon. Yes, that is a cactus in my picture, their name is Colin!
Tell us about your background in social care
I have been a qualified social worker for nearly 18yrs. I started out working in frontline child protection in Hampshire. When my son was small and his needs high, I chose to take a career break and moved to Exmoor, I have been here ever since! For the last 10yrs I have been working in and around Adult Social care in a variety of positions, carer for people with complex needs, a sheltered housing advisor, an independent support worker and latterly I returned to social work during the pandemic as a hospital social worker and now a hospital locality lead.
When I decided to return to social work, in April 2020. I was helping to run the local Good Neighbours volunteers to support those in my community who had to isolate. Through some of the connections I made in this work, led me to be supported by Somerset West and Taunton council to access a grant from the West Somerset Opportunities area, for a new laptop (to support my online learning) and some books for my ‘Return to social work course’.
Then Somerset County Council also support this course by providing my 20 days placement in practice in the August of 2020. This was within the Health Interface Team. I thoroughly enjoyed this placement and when I saw that a position had come up in the team, I jumped at it!
What is your role and responsibilities?
As a hospital Locality Lead, I am responsible for supporting the social workers and adult social care practitioners working in 3 Community hospitals and a small pathway rehab unit. I attend several multi-disciplinary meetings to discuss discharge planning for the people staying on the wards. I chair Best Interest meetings and work closely with the acute hospitals to support the flow between the two.
Whilst supervising the workers and also I still keep my hand in with Care Act and Mental Capacity Act assessments and helping to cover board rounds and family meetings when workers are on leave etc.
We then as a team help to facilitate people moving on from hospital back home with support, into Extra Care Housing or into care homes. We work very closely with individuals and families to helping during difficulties times.
How long have you worked at Somerset County Council?
I have worked at Somerset County Council since September 2020
What is the training and support like?
Lots of training to be had – both e-learning and virtual learning. In my first year I was supported to complete my Practice Educator training Part 1 and had the opportunity to support a student.
Did you know you wanted to become a Locality Lead from the start and if so, how did you go about landing this role?
I knew when I returned to social work that I wanted to move up in my career and felt ready for management. However, I did not expect to land this role after a year! But when the opportunity arose to act up I went for it, I thought why not. I am a ‘Yes’ person and wanted to push myself. I love this role and my work with the hospitals, I thrive on fast paced work and this suits me down to the ground.
In general, how does someone go about progressing their careers within the organisation?
There are lots of different roles within the organisation in all sorts of teams and if you want to progress you can.
What do you love most about your role?
I love fast paced work, I am a natural trouble shooter, so the problem solving, crisis management and creative thinking that is required in social work suits me well. We also have plenty of detective work to unpick some of the situation that people find themselves in.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of starting a career in Adult Social Care with Somerset County Council?
Go for it! Times are challenging at the moment, but together we will win through and you can’t help make a difference if you don’t get involved!.