Cameron Whittaker has been a stalwart member of Coniston House, part of Roch Care, for over 4 years, first joining the team as a care assistant on nights. With a background working in the care sector as a Kitchen Assistant, he has always been a profoundly caring and motivated individual who wishes to help. He’s recently begun his 3rd year at Bolton University studying for a Nursing Degree.
Cameron wanted to further his care career opting to start an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care whilst working at Coniston. His diligent attitude and enthusiasm toward providing the best possible care meant that his advancement was guaranteed.
“I always knew I wanted to work in care, helping people has always been something that I’ve wanted to do. I looked into opportunities where I could get involved and jumped on board when the kitchen assistant became available. But then I wanted to do more, fortunately, I found a position at Coniston. Donna and the team were happy to take me on and show me the ropes.”
Coniston House has a long history of working with staff to help them in their educational journey and it was no different for Cameron. With many alumni who have furthered their careers, Cameron felt secure and supported to join Bolton University to pursue a degree in Nursing.
Donna Marsden, Registered Home Manager added “We’ve had a lot of promising staff, like Cameron, who show a level of determination and commitment who go on to do great things, when Cameron came to me about his intent about reducing his hours so he could pursue his education, I was glad to help.”
Working together a plan was put in place to allow Cameron the ability to pursue his ambitions whilst providing him with an opportunity to work. Cameron added, “It can be hard sometimes, there’s a lot of back and forth, sometimes it can be quite difficult. Having to juggle between lessons, coursework and on-the-floor work sometimes can feel overwhelming. But I know what I want to do and if I work hard it’ll all be worth it.”
We asked Cameron what difficulties he faced and what he thinks is needed to be successful in managing both studies and work. “It can lead to a lot of long days! Waking up early to travel to University and then back home to prepare for my shift can be tiring. I’ll often take a nap when I get back in to make sure I’m fully ready for my shifts.
“I think the most important skills you need to be a working student, are discipline, time management and good friends. It takes a lot of mental effort to keep myself going and keep motivating myself, it can be so hard after a really long day where I’ve gotten up early, studied hard, travelled more and then worked hard to then hear that alarm the next morning and know I’ve got to do it again.
I’ve got to balance all these things and sometimes it feels like there’s not enough time in the day, so managing my time well is a key skill I learned. Finally, it’s essential to have friends or family who are invested in you, I don’t always have time to pursue hobbies and sometimes I’m so busy it can be hard to see my friends outside of work. That’s why I think having good friends who will go out of their way to check on you and make sure you’re doing well, will help anyone who is looking to work and study at the same time.