Antonia Sines is proof that with the right support and a helping of determination it is possible to build a successful career despite a tough start.
Antonia has recently become Acting Deputy Manager for First City Nursing, headquarted in Swindon, and has worked her way up from starting out as a care assistant just five years ago.
Having left school with no qualifications, Antonia found herself responsible for supporting herself and her young son, Harley. She worked in a fish and chip shop to supplement her benefits but was looking for a job with more prospects. Having seen her mum work as a carer when she was younger, and having spent time accompanying her on visits, the care sector was one that appealed.
Antonia, now 26, said: “My mum had been a carer and I saw how much satisfaction she took from the job and so when I was dreaming about my future career, the care industry was what I wanted to work in – but as I didn’t have any qualifications I didn’t know if I could do it.
“I came across First City Nursing as I saw advert for a one-to-one care position in the local paper. I went for it, got the job and since then I’ve done various roles in the different areas of care that First City Nursing offers.
“My manager, Mandy Warren, knew that I wanted to develop and move up through the business and she supported me to take the opportunities available. She put me on training courses to help me with my English and maths skills, as well as courses such as a Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care and a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care, as well as other courses like sales techniques.
“To have been promoted to Deputy Manager is great news and shows just how much First City have supported me to achieve what I have done so far, as well as them seeing the potential I have to give. “
Mandy Warren, Manager for First City Nursing, said: “Ever since Antonia came through our doors we could see her enthusiasm and desire to succeed. She has grasped every opportunity presented to her and her attitude shows just how determined she is to not only make the best life for her and Harley, but also to make sure that the care and support we provide to our customers is excellent too.
“Training and support is a key aspect of every member of staff’s career with us, whether they’re a carer, manager or office-based. We look at what everyone wants to achieve and put in place the steps they need to do just that. A lot of our team have been with us for years because of this approach and, just like Antonia, have worked their way up through the ranks. First City Nursing is a family-run business and we want everyone to feel like a member of the family.”
Antonia is using her experience to head up a project into how First City Nursing can recruit and retain more people into the sector. This includes breaking down the barriers people often face such as making the application process easier, identifying and attracting people with the right skills – even if they don’t have any care experience – and how to support them best through their careers.