Key workers are a lifeline to our country during coronavirus 

A key worker is someone in the public sector who provides care to others or performs another vital function to provide support or services to others (such as working in supermarkets or transport). As a residential worker, I am considered a key worker, because I provide care and support to children in residential care. From an early age, it is important for a child to develop key cognitive skills like confidence and social interaction, and as a residential worker, I perform a vital role in offering extensive emotive as well as practical support.

My first job as a Children’s Residential Worker

Residential workers have an important role to play in terms of providing effective learning whilst planning for children’s individual needs. I decided to pursue a role as a residential worker due to the nature of the day-to-day tasks that come with it. The fact that you are able to promote the wellbeing of the children that reside there and act as a reliable person for them to communicate their feelings and thoughts with is really meaningful for me. My role is to make sure that the children’s basic physical, emotional and social needs are being met to a high standard, to ensure that a child can get the best care.

An average day for me, depending on the rota hours could begin in the morning, which starts at 7.30 am. I usually have to wake up around an hour and a half beforehand to leave enough time to get ready and travel to work. I get the train into work usually and so I have to make sure that I am well prepared; making sure that I wear a mask whilst on the train and wear gloves to protect myself. The trains are usually quiet, but there can be some days where there are a few people on the same carriage and social distancing rules have to be followed, so I make sure I am a good distance from other passengers, although this can be difficult to achieve sometimes. 

When in work, the children get up at varying times so I have to make sure that breakfast is ready promptly, and with the school closures, the house is a lot busier. When I’m preparing breakfast, another staff member will get the children up and out of bed, and ready for the day by assisting them with showers and picking out the clothes they’ll wear for the day. When the children are having breakfast, they usually say beforehand what they’d like to eat. This is always the best way to promote children’s ability to use their own initiatives. 

All of the children are provided with a set of activities that they are able to take part in each day, which they choose from. During these activities, I or another member of staff will monitor the children’s progress in line with key outcomes such as physical health, mood, concentration etc. which is recorded in each child’s progression file. Due to the pandemic, we are finding that it can be difficult to keep the children occupied so we may sometimes go for a drive so they can have some fresh air and a change of location.

After that, I usually give the whole house a good clean. Due to the virus, we now follow a cleaning chart where we have to disinfect the whole house to ensure that we are protecting the children’s, as well as our own, health and wellbeing. It can be very hard work! As the children are not in school, they are given lots of homework to complete online, and we help with this daily during their school hours.

This job has made me reflect on the vital work that key workers all around the country are doing, I’ve noticed the number of hours I work has risen significantly since the pandemic, and I know it will be the same for a lot of key workers out there. I have gained so much respect for those working on the frontline such as doctors and other medical staff who have been risking their lives daily to protect people, as well as all the other key workers that are providing vital services to the country in this time of crisis. It means a lot to me to know that in one small way I am making the world a safer and better place for others. 

If after reading this, you are intrigued about pursuing a career in the health and social care industry, I should tell you that it is 100% worth the time and commitment to be in charge of the wellbeing of others. The fulfilment you gain in knowing that you are protecting and guiding those in need at this moment in time is indescribable.