How I achieved my goal to be a Registered Manager at Lifeways: Richard’s story
Richard Lee, who’s a Registered Manager of two Lifeways residential services, hadn’t always wanted to work in social care.
After leaving school, Richard instead started a career in facilities management. A hard worker, Richard was promoted to a role that involved lots of travel.
“It was a 24/7 job,” Richard recalls. “Sometimes I wouldn't see my family for a good few weeks.”
Constantly being away from home wasn’t the only problem Richard faced. “The job was very stressful, and you didn’t really feel a lot of attachment, or a sense of achievement.”
In 2015, Richard decided to do a complete career change that would allow him more free time – and less travel.
He took up a position as a support worker at a residential service for adults with autism and behaviours that challenge.
As with his previous role, Richard soon got promoted, becoming a team leader.
Then, in 2017, at the age of 24, Richard received life-altering news: he had cancer.
True to character, Richard carried on working throughout his cancer treatment. “I think I had about nine days off in total,” he says.
However, Richard’s initial round of treatment didn’t seem to work.
“I then went on a more aggressive course of chemo,” he says. During this stronger treatment, Richard lost large amounts of weight, and suffered from hair loss.
“Everything fell out - I had no eyebrows or anything.”
Eight months later, the chemotherapy had worked. Yet the experience left Richard with a deeper sense of purpose.
“When I got the all-clear, and was in remission, it made me realize that if you want to go and do something, then you have to go and do it yourself.”
With his new-found ambition, Richard put together what he calls his own “five-year plan,” which involved the following steps:
- Take a year to heal and recover, while working in his role at the residential service
- Next, obtain an academic qualification – in his case, a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care, while keeping his job
- Finally, become a Registered Manager – the most senior on-the-ground role in a social care service
Carrying out the five-year plan wasn’t always easy.
There were some highlights, like in 2019 when Richard was made service manager at the residential care service where he was working.
‘I didn’t like school’
Yet getting back into education was not smooth-sailing. Richard had left school with only GCSEs – and had to first take catch-up courses before he could start his diploma.
“I’m not academic in any way,” Richard admits.
“I didn’t like school. It wasn’t my thing… going back into education and having homework to do and sitting in classrooms was really weird.”
What’s more, when the pandemic began, the pace at the service dramatically increased, squeezing out time needed to study.
“I’d work 12-14 hour shifts because COVID meant we had no staff,” Richard recalls. “And then I'd come back home to do a couple of hours of university work every day, and then go back to work.”
Determined to keep going, Richard kept his eyes on his goal of becoming a registered manager.
“Working full-time and studying was really difficult, but I knew that it would pay off,” says Richard.
Richard’s gruelling work and study schedule did pay off. In 2021, Richard completed his diploma - and his friend, who was a Registered Manager at Lifeways, recommended he apply for a role.
Armed with his newly-minted management qualification, Richard applied and successfully got the job.
He was then appointed the manager of not one, but two residential services, Rosekeys and Rose Meadow, both located in Doncaster. A total of 14 individuals we support live at these two services, with on-site support teams of around 50 people.
Proud to support
Less than a year on, Richard’s leadership has already made a considerable impact. His plans for Rosekeys include a new sensory room which is currently being built.
And over at Rose Meadow, Richard’s proud to have assisted Terry, an individual we support, to receive a Level 1 certification in Food Hygiene, after Terry expressed an interest in cooking. (You can see Richard on the right and Terry on the left in the picture at the top of this story.)
“I sat and did the course with him and he passed it, and got every question right,” Richard says.
“Terry's really happy about passing,” Richard adds. “We've ordered him a big apron that says ‘Barbecue King for the summer of ‘22.’”
When it comes to career advice, Richard is understandably enthusiastic about the importance of setting a plan in place to achieve your goals.
“Make a plan, and if you can, try to picture it, to see it visually. And break it down into steps. Work out how you are actually going to get there,” he says.
“Remember, you can depend on yourself.”
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story, Richard!
About Rosekeys and Rose Meadow:
Rosekeys supports up to 13 people living with support needs including learning disabilities, autism, acquired brain injuries (ABI) and mental health conditions.
Rose Meadow supports up to eight individuals living with learning disabilities, autism, and physical disabilities.
Both services contain accessible gardens and communal areas for leisure activities.
Lifeways is the UK’s largest team of support professionals providing support for adults in the community.
Our 11,000 colleagues currently support almost 5,000 individuals who live in our 1,500 supported living and residential services across England, Scotland, and Wales.
Find out more about how we change people's lives at: www.lifeways.co.uk
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