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Emma Progression within West House

We recently caught up with Emma Donachy to find out a bit more about her progression at West House.

How long have you worked for West House and what were your reasons for applying? 

I started at West House in December 2022, but have been in health and social care for 13/14 years now. After my previous employment within a care home at another company, I quickly realised where I wanted to be. I had heard loads about West House and have friends working here, and I felt driven to help people with learning disabilities.

What pulled me in even more is the values that West House has. I never thought I would get the job I applied for, and doubted myself completely! However, I came straight into West House as a manager and finally felt I had found the right role for me.

What was your previous profession before starting your role with West House? 

I previously worked as a Support Worker for a different company, doing a lot more than the role entails. I completed a lot of tasks that the managers role included which allowed me to gain experience in a lot of manager duties and I also taught myself a lot of new skills. This helped me gain a passion for the manager position which is why I ultimately applied to West House.

I am also currently doing an honours degree in health and social care at Open University. This will be completed in 2026. I’m really enjoying the course, as it gives me more knowledge on my current role, and I can fit this in with my work schedule.

I am enjoying all of my courses and have enjoyed all of the training West House have put me through. They are all useful and interesting. It can be time-consuming, but I like learning and it helps me to gain knowledge overall.

What does your role entail? 

My role has different duties everyday. The main responsibilities day-to-day include running of the service making sure its staffed correctly, dealing with peoples lives and helping/supporting them with problems. You have to make decisions that are within the people we support’s best interests, whether that’s financially or environmentally. Providing staff with the right training and support and being part of the team are crucial parts of my responsibilities. In my eyes, it doesn’t matter what job role you have within the service, because you all work together and are all working in line with what’s right for people on the whole.

What skills or qualifications have you received or learnt within your role? 

I have learnt loads of skills within my role, including PBS and reducing restrictive and controlling practice which I find the most interesting.

I have learnt new ways of working as things are always changing. No matter how much of it you think you know, you’re always going to learn more, and I find it fascinating.

Have there been any big learning curves or challenges along the way?  

My biggest challenge/learning curve was joining a service with existing staff who have worked there for a long time. It can be intimidating, especially coming in at a manager’s role, as you are there to lead the service but you may not have as much experience in that service as others. However, I received a lot of support from the operational team which I am so grateful for. This made me more confident in my role.

I didn’t know where I fit at first and didn’t want to tread on peoples toes, but now I have developed so much more confidence. I took ownership and responsibility for this, as you always gain experience and learn along the way no matter how new you are to the job. Everything clicks one day and that’s how I knew it was the right role for me.

What are your most memorable moments working for West House?

A memorable moment for me working at West House was when we threw Carole a birthday party as she has never had one before. We took her and the group to London, and took them to new places with new experiences that they have never had before. Seeing their faces light up, especially Carole’s, was amazing. There was a DJ, cake, buffet, and we even made her a memory book with photos in from her first party. Seeing their faces when experiencing new things and giving them the opportunities that we take for granted is the most memorable experiences for me, when you make a difference in someone’s life, and helping them live a fulfilled life. Carole is speaking about Disneyland next!

We take a lot for granted and something like this can make them so happy and make them feel so valued.

How would you describe the people we support?

I would describe the people we support as amazing. They are like my family, and I enjoy going to work and seeing them. They make me laugh and smile, I get upset when they’re upset, and I love them all to bits. They’re all amazing in their own individual ways. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy my role because it feels as though I make a difference. I can go home with full job satisfaction either at the end of the day or at the end of a shift. We’re always working to make things better for people, and you go home feeling like you have made a change in somebody’s life. I’m so pleased I filled out that application form. I feel like I belong, I am with happy with how far I have come, and I am so grateful for the amazing support from West House.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of applying for a role at West House? 

If I could give someone advice when applying to become Support Worker I would say JUST DO IT. Just apply and give it a go. I have never known a company like West House that provides that much support to their staff when they need it. The people that we support are always at the front of everything. You will know if the job is right for you as soon as you start, but you never know until you try.

The advice I would give for someone wanting to move into a managerial position would be that management isn’t always for everyone, but until you have tried it you don’t know. I know people who have gone into manager positions and it wasn’t for them and that’s okay, too! If you want to progress in a career then it is the likely next step to take, as long as you have the support and confidence, anything is doable.

I give feedback to my team everyday. To be able to approach your team and give them advice, you have to have manners, thank staff every day and make sure that they are okay. I praise them and tell them they are an amazing team, and that I’m thankful for all of them. Simple things such as messages saying they should all be proud of what they do, acknowledging things have been tough, and to be proud of the things we do and the difference we make.

As a manager I actively have an open door policy, and I am always there if anyone needs something, whether it’s in service or on the phone.

What are your hopes for the future?

To keep doing what I’m doing, keep creating more opportunities for people. It’s taken me so long to get to where I am now, and I’m so happy where I am. I will continue with my own courses and development, and have even signed up for uni because I completed my NVQ and wanted to continue developing my career and keep learning more. Everyone can improve as there is always something to learn.

 

If you would like to find out more about joining the West House team, take a look at our Careers page.