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It’s never too late to care

Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris – From Sales to Care

Throughout the year we profile a care professional who has come into the sector after a career change and who demonstrates that it really is never too late to care! This month we meet Tristan Harris, Support Worker at Orbis Education and Care, who left a well-paid career in sales to work in the care sector at the beginning of the pandemic.

A change of career is a seismic shift for anyone, regardless of their age or stage in life. Coming from sales to work in care was never going to be an easy transition for Tristan Harris, even less so in the middle of a global pandemic.

Despite this, the 25-year-old has found his vocation in life at Orbis Education and Care where Tristan is now a Support Worker at Dan y Coed in Swansea. He is already working towards becoming a home manager.

Since joining Orbis in 2020 Tristan has made a big impact, not least with one resident at Dan y Coed. The child was identified as being at risk health-wise due to his weight, and within days Tristan helped set up an activity planner centred around his individual needs. This has resulted in huge weight loss for the child, who is now also learning the importance of healthy eating to keep his weight stable in the future.

At the time of his joining Orbis, morale in the care sector was also, understandably, lower than usual. At Dan y Coed itself a number of fellow staff were also new to the job, and the industry was just coming to terms with the challenges brought about by Covid-19.

Tristan hit the ground running however, and his enthusiasm and passion for the job, and the children he cares for, has been described by colleagues as infectious. His managers describe him as a ‘shining example of how hard work, dedication and understanding gets results’. They say he is dedicated and has shown real commitment and enthusiasm in all he does.

This determination was recently recognised by the British Care Awards, where Tristan was presented with the Dignity in Care Award for the Wales and South West regions. At the time of writing, he has been shortlisted as a national finalist in the same category.

It is clear that he is a great asset to Orbis and is loved by staff and the people he supports, and it is also evident that Tristan, and people like him, are exactly what the future care sector needs.

So, the question is, what prompted such a change in the first place? And what does it feel like to have switched careers quite so dramatically?

Tristan says: “My old job was very much office-based with a lot of sitting around. The days were predictable and very repetitive. I knew that the care sector was struggling, and I thought I had the skills that would allow me to thrive in a role within that sector. I was still quite surprised at how quickly I was able to settle in though. The staff team I joined at Dan y Coed was very welcoming and really took their time in showing me the ropes.”

“Dealing with staff shortages due to the pandemic has probably been our greatest challenge in recent months. It’s been hard to maintain a stable staff team but together we did it.

“The best thing about making this career change is the people I’ve met, both in terms of the staff and young people that I now work with,” Tristan continues. “There’s huge diversity among both and I’ve been able to meet and build relationships with people that I would never have met without making the switch between sectors.”

“The thing I love most about my job now is the fact that no two days are ever the same,” he added, ‘and I would encourage anyone thinking about a career in care to go for it. It is very rewarding, and I have no regrets at all.

Edel Harris

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