My name is Natalie Mattheson. I’m a healthcare support worker employed by Cornerstone in North Ayrshire. I got this job after completing the Prince’s Trust Scotland, Get Into Social Care programme. I have dual registration with the SSSC as a support worker in both care at home and housing support services.
For the last seven years I was both a stay at home mum and my mother’s carer. I moved to this area with my partner and I wanted to get back into work now that my daughter is older.
My last job was in a bar. I didn’t have much work experience apart from that. I was applying for absolutely everything - bars, cleaning and care work. I just wasn’t getting anything back from my applications.
My brother told me about Prince’s Trust Scotland. He’d completed a ‘Get Into...’ programme several years ago and said it was perfect for me to gain experience in the workplace and to get that boost to my confidence. He told me that I could apply up to the age of 30. I had no idea I was even eligible.
I cared for my mum and my mum’s friend. You know, one of your mum’s friends that is like an auntie to you. I helped them both with the day to day things to make their life easier and I thought ’actually, I maybe like this’.
When I got accepted on the course and started the training it confirmed that working in social care was for me.
There is so much to take in and learn in the five weeks working with the Prince’s Trust. We learned about health and safety, first aid, moving and assisting, child protection, adult protection. We completed one course a day, sometimes two, and we got mentoring and support throughout.
After the training we started a placement shadowing another healthcare support worker. I supported a woman who was in a wheelchair. She was actually quite independent. She made up her mind what she wanted to do, we were just there to help her with her needs. She had a better social life than I do and we became good friends. We even cried when I completed the placement, it was quite emotional. It really changed what I thought social care was about.
The course ended on my 30th birthday with a celebration event and an interview with Cornerstone for a permanent job. I found out the next day that I was successful. I now have a job in social care.
There are all these different routes that I didn’t know existed. A few years ago I went to college and I did social sciences. Originally, I wanted to be a criminal psychologist but my relationship broke down, I went through a divorce and I dropped out of the course. There was just a lot going on and it was too much.
Getting back into learning through the Get Into… programme, the hands-on element of the placement and learning about social care has helped me get back on track. I know this could lead to other things but also I think I will be quite happy progressing in this career.
If you’re interested in social care and are thinking about applying to the Prince’s Trust, I’d say just go for it. Put your mind to it and just get it done. It feels like a career.
My brother told me about Prince’s Trust Scotland. He’d completed a ‘Get Into...’ programme several years ago and said it was perfect for me to gain experience in the workplace and to get that boost to my confidence. He told me that I could apply up to the age of 30. I had no idea I was even eligible.Natalie Mattheson Healthcare support worker