In our first Sector Spotlight on the Third Sector we hear from Nikki Coghill, who is a Service Support Supervisor at Age Scotland.
Nikki left school when she was 17 and got a job in a local care home as a relief Social Care Assistant. She then undertook a Modern Apprenticeship, working towards her SVQ2 in Social Care. She also obtained her HNC and SVQ3 in Social Care.
After working in a care home for a few years, an opportunity came up at Age Scotland Orkney, where Nikki has developed her skills in a variety of roles and through professional development.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as a Service Support Supervisor?
My job is very varied, so NO two days are the same! I am mainly based in the office and do bits of lots of jobs.
I do some of the accounting work like posting invoices and payments onto our accounts system and tallying up the cash tins to make sure they match the totals on the accounts system too.
We recently changed to using an online CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for most of our day-to-day tasks, it is really handy for making up the staff rota, recording information and having an action list so we can set tasks for ourselves and each other to remember to do thing as it gets pretty busy at times.
I am responsible for processing the data for the employees’ pay each month and recording statistics on how many hours have been worked to compare this to previous months/years. I then have to create an export spreadsheet which collates all of the necessary information on the invoices for each client to be imported into the accounts system.
I answer and make phone calls for lots of different reasons, it may be someone needing to refer themselves, family or a friend for any of the services that we provide. It may be someone needing advice or signposting to another organisation. Or it may be to do the Good Day Calls – this is a service which operates daily where we provide people with a welfare call each morning to make sure they are ok.
I also undertake home visits to clients to ensure their house is safe for employees to go into or to review services that they currently have from us to check everything is up to scratch. When we have staff off on holiday or off sick, I may be required to support their clients in their absence, its lovely getting to meet such a variety of people with wonderful stories to tell.
How did you end up in this role?
I was conflicted as to what to do when I left school, I felt quite pressured into going off island to university or college as this was focused on a lot in PSE lessons. When I was around 15, I made the decision that I did not want to go away from home but knew there were some options at Orkney College. I found exams really tough and although I could function well within classes, I didn’t perform well in exam circumstances which led to me not achieving the grades I would’ve liked to so had to make more decisions.
I left school when I was 17 and got a job in a local care home as a relief Social Care Assistant, I was so nervous to begin with as I had no experience in personal care whatsoever, but I loved it, it was such a rewarding job. I got a Modern Apprenticeship placement within my first year which meant I could study towards my SVQ2 in Social Care whilst working (and getting paid!) at the same time, and then after a couple of years I got a Social Care Worker role which meant I took on a bit more responsibility and also obtained my HNC and SVQ3 in Social Care.
I worked in the care home for over five years and then an opportunity came up at Age Scotland Orkney as a Dementia Support Worker which I felt would be a change and a challenge for me, so I applied and was lucky enough to get the job. I am still at Age Scotland Orkney now and have had a few different roles within my time here, the management team are very forward thinking and innovative and keen to let people expand their knowledge and skills. I was lucky enough to have my workplace fund a PDA in Supervision too, so I am now qualified to be registered in a supervisory role with the SSSC (Scottish Social Services Council).
What is the best thing about your job?
Being able to provide support to people within their own homes to enable them to stay there as long as possible.
What is the worst thing about your job?
When clients pass away it can be tough for their support workers as they get to know them so well.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
As I work on a computer most of the time, IT skills are essential. Also to be organised, willing to work as a team and alone and being able to communicate effectively are all skills that are required to undertake this role. Sometimes there may be problem solving involved and the need to think and react quickly but these are skills that I feel you pick up on and improve as you go along.
What qualifications do you have?
As well as my Modern Apprenticeship and HNC, I have six Standard Grades, two Intermediate Level two and five Highers.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Yes, I absolutely would, it is so rewarding and varied. People are so grateful for the assistance support that we provide for them.
Visit Age Scotland on: