Lawrence McAlinney – Builder to Support Worker
Each month 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 Lawrence McAlinney from Precious Homes, who after being a builder for over 30 years decided to become a support worker. Now one year into his new role he is a real demonstration of the passion, involvement and empathy needed in the sector.
Lawrence is a Support Worker at Treow House – a supported living service owned by independent care provider Precious Homes.
Lawrence explains his career transition: “One of my daughters had a stroke when she was just 10 years old and this led to a number of health issues which required me to take time off work and become her main carer. At the same time my brother in law suffered a brain tumour and I was very involved in supporting his journey to recovery. A huge shock and change to my normal day to day life, it gave me my first real insight into what is involved in care.”
Lawrence has worked as a builder and a lorry driver for over 30 years but when he started thinking about returning to work, he realised his focus had changed and he wanted to find more ‘meaningful’ work.
“I started looking for care jobs on the internet and realised there was a huge demand. I was shortlisted for two jobs I applied for and following the interview process was offered both – but my heart was tipped towards Precious Homes.” he explains.
Lawrence was recruited via a vigorous recruitment process with focus moved away from skills and experience of ‘new to the sector’ candidates and towards values and attitude.
Precious Homes Manager Joanne Rodell explains: “Our belief is that recruiting people with the right values, and then providing the training they need to increase their skills and knowledge, is the best platform for success.”
The service users at Precious Homes also play an active role in the recruitment process – with several of the people supported at Treow House involved in recruiting Lawrence.
Lawrence adds: “I now support all the individuals who interviewed me on the day. I built a great rapport with them from that very first experience and I’m delighted to be on an amazing journey with them as they increase their skills and independence at Treow House.”
Joanne adds: “Lawrence has a fantastic rapport with the other team members and the people we support. In such a short space of time and being newcomer to the care industry, he has made a real impact on the service. He is always friendly, positive and has everyone laughing – keeping spirits high. He has learned very quickly just what’s needed in terms of supporting people and putting their needs first. He has volunteered to, and organised, some fantastic group activities, and has proven himself to be invaluable as a driver and odd job man around Treow House too!”
In recognition of his fantastic and natural skills for care, Lawrence was named Care Worker of the Year at the Great British Care Awards London region, and was also named Support Worker of the Year at Precious Homes’ internal annual awards at the end of 2018.
Lawrence adds: “I simply love what I do. It is so rewarding and although a massive life change, I have never been happier or more fulfilled in all my 30 years of working. I still help out friends and do odd jobs using my building and trade skills – but care is where my heart is, and I would not change it for the world.”