Soraya worked in retail for about five years but knew it wasn't something she could see herself doing long-term. Her aunt, who works in social care, suggested that her personable and caring nature would make her better suited to support work.
“Before my first shift I was really nervous, but as soon as I got in, it felt like I belonged in the job,” said Soraya.
“On my first day, I knew it was for me. I can't imagine myself doing anything different.”
She admits that starting social care work just a few weeks before coronavirus restrictions were put in place has been challenging at times, but she's staying positive. “The women I support have coped really well in the last few months, and I'm really proud of them,” she said.
“It's been challenging, and we've had to spend time explaining what's going on and why their families aren't able to visit, but they've taken it in their stride and have been video calling their families to stay connected.”
Soraya believes that, in a way, working with adults in care near the beginning of lockdown was “a blessing in disguise” because it has let her get to know the people she supports on a deeper level.
“I've built an incredible relationship with each of the people I support,” she said.
Soraya hopes that the pandemic has opened society's eyes to the importance of social care work.
“Since coronavirus, I think people are starting to value social care work more, and are realising how much we actually do and how important our jobs are. But some people still undervalue it, and there's a long way to go.”
Now, she would encourage other people to consider support work, especially with her positive experience of working with adults in care.
She said: “I love coming into work and making the people I support smile every day. I just enjoy talking to them, cheering them up and giving them positive energy.”