Interview with Isabel Ngwenya, Winner of the Home Care Worker Award at the Great British Care Awards 2019

Marie Page
23rd May 2019

Having sponsored the Home Care Worker Award at this year’s Great British Care Awards, we wanted to find out a little bit more about the award’s winner Isabel Ngwenya and what inspires her in her social care work….

Tell me a little bit about what you do?

Isabel at The Great British Care Awards 2019

We are in forensic mental health support work and we support clients who have been in prison and have mental health problems. We support them with daily life skills and reintroducing them back into the community.  We try to empower our clients to do things on their own, for some technology has gone surpassed them so we teach them how to use smartphones and set up email addresses. It’s good to give support in different areas, we encourage them to engage in social activities, to increase their confidence and to meet new people.  

How did you choose a career in the social care sector?

Originally, I wanted to do mental health nursing. I needed to gain experience and I went into a care assistance role which I found really fulfilling and interesting.  I have now been in social care for 18 years and came to Shine Partnerships in 2012. 

What have been the most rewarding parts of your job?

Having seen clients being discharged from hospital and after time gaining all the skills to go shopping, do their own laundry, and deal with their own finances.  It’s been rewarding finding clients volunteer positions and even helping some go out on dates. For me it’s giving people a chance where society has not necessarily given them a chance.  

What have been your biggest challenges?

My biggest challenge was in 2016 when I woke up and I couldn’t walk; I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis – it affected everything. I was determined to carry on my work; the Shine Partnerships team supported me and made a few adjustments in my job role to allow me to continue my work. I also used my own experiences with my illness to help my clients.

Who inspires you within the care industry?

I have been inspired by many clients that I have met, I have learnt a lot from them – I have learnt to be more patient and be a better person – they motivate me with their want to improve their life skills.

Does technology help you to do your job at all, for example, Care Management Systems, eMAR?

Yes, we use Care Management Software which is fantastic as we can sync the system, and everyone has access to it for care notes and plans.

What skills and personality do you need to be a care worker?

You need people skills, to be intuitive, to have compassion and to try to understand people and their behaviour. Being empathetic, having listening skills and an interest in the job’s challenges is important. You also need to be resilient as some people are not always polite.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is looking into being a carer/working in the social care industry?

I would advise people to give it a go – as you gain experience and have time within the industry you will find it a very rewarding job. It’s an interesting job where every day is different – we we work as a team and also have fantastic training.

What does winning the Home Care Worker Award mean to you?

To be recognised for something that I love means a lot. It came as a surprise as I didn’t know until the judging day that I was nominated for the award!

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