“People say you have to decide between a career and having a family, but that hasn’t been the case for me.”

Emma works as a Care Supervisor at Sharnbrook House, a Greensleeves Care home in Bedford which offers residential and dementia care.

We spoke to Emma about her career development and how she makes the most of the flexibility within her role in order to care for her two young children.

Emma began working at Sharnbrook House at the young age of 15 as a kitchen assistant alongside school. When she turned 18, she was able to move into a care role, something she was keen to try.

Having been a care assistant for one year, she then commenced her nursing degree at university. Throughout her first year at university, she maintained her connection with Sharnbrook House, filling in with bank shifts when she could. Emma decided that ultimately, nursing was not for her, and that she wanted to focus her efforts on the care sector.

In 2017, Emma gave birth to her daughter, and in 2018 she came back to work at Sharnbrook House as a carer. After the birth of her son in May 2020, Emma returned in 2021 as a senior carer.

Emma said: “I had spoken to the management team about coming back from maternity leave after I had my son. I was happy to return to my role as a care assistant, however my manager suggested that I should apply for a Senior Carer position that had become available.

I was grateful that my experience had been taken into account, despite my time off for maternity leave, and I was thrilled to be able to return to work in a more senior position than when I had left.”

Only one year into Emma’s role as a Senior Carer, she was promoted to Care Supervisor, a role which holds a lot more responsibility and management of colleagues. Despite the seniority of the role, Emma was encouraged to take advantage of the flexible shifts on offer, in order to arrange childcare for her two children.

Emma has also been supported in her role to gain new qualifications, as she began her NVQ Level 3 in December 2019 and has studied flexibly for the qualification- pausing her studies whilst on maternity leave and recently re-starting.

Emma said:

“I’m so grateful to be able to work flexible hours whilst being a mum to two young children. I came back to work a year after having my son, into a more senior position than before I left, and management has supported me to do my NVQ Level 3 at my own pace. People say you have to decide between a career and having a family, but that hasn’t been the case for me.”