Real Lives

From factory floor to the frontline of 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 Kim Clibery from Hollymere supported Housing, part of Advantage Group, who went from the factory floor to the frontline of care.

Kim Clibery is a team leader at Hollymere supported housing in Ellesmere Port. Now 54, Kim joined Hollymere as a support worker when she was made redundant from her role as manager in a sandwich factory at 40.

Until then, a career in care had never been on Kim’s radar. But, she says, it’s the best thing she ever did.

“The job centre asked me if I’d consider a different role,” explains Kim. “The local council was running a five-week course in health and social care and if you passed you were guaranteed an interview at Hollymere.

Although Kim had never worked in the care sector before, she always had a natural affinity for caring.

“My next-door neighbour always had carers going in and out,” she says. “I enjoyed helping her out with shopping, cleaning and cooking but it had never occurred to me to make it a career.”

But after starting her new job, Kim realised she’d found her vocation and embraced all the training on offer. She was quickly promoted to a more senior role, before becoming team leader in 2019.

“I took all the training on offer, including NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Health and Social Care,” she says. “Then when Making Space took over the running of the service, they implemented an online system of regular training. As well as refresher courses in things like moving and handling and medication, we can also choose advanced training in a wide range of specialisms.

“So far, I’ve covered mental health, diabetes management, stroke management, palliative care, dementia care, infection and prevention control, fire safety, GDPR, first aid… and I’m sure there are many more!”

As team leader, Kim and her colleague Heidi Francis are responsible for 19 support workers.

“Hollymere is a retirement living facility for people aged over 55, some of whom need 24 hour support. We support a wide range of people with very individual needs so it’s essential to keep up to date with training,” says Kim. “My role includes ensuring the whole team has the knowledge they need to provide the best care.”

And as well as focusing on the professional development of her colleagues, Kim continues to learn as much as she can.

“There are many opportunities to climb the career ladder in the care profession,” she says. “I’ve recently completed a leadership course and it’s great to know how to support people to develop themselves and learn from their actions, rather than just telling them what to do.”

The next step up for Kim would be to become a registered manager, but she’s more than happy in her current role – for now.

“I love my job and I wouldn’t change a thing,” she says. “I come to work every day to help and support people, whether it’s my colleagues or the people who live at Hollymere. I know it’s a cliché, but we really are one big family.

“The opportunities for improving lives are endless. I’m so proud of how hard everyone works, and it’s always with a smile and a kind word. It’s such a happy environment, there are never two days the same and the job satisfaction is like nothing I’ve ever known.

“There’s no big mystery to being successful in the care sector,” Kim concludes. “If you can listen to people, really hear what they’ve got to say, and respect their choices and dignity, then you’ll go home every day knowing that you’ve achieved something great.”



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