At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

raina summerson CEO
Raina Summerson, Agincare Group CEO

 

 

We spoke with Raina Summerson the Group CEO at Agincare UK about the care industry, the highs, the lows and moving through the ranks.

 

 

 

 

RISE: What is your title and could you give us a short summary of what your day to day looks like at Agincare?

Raina: Group Chief Executive – covering all businesses within the group of Agincare companies. Due to the number of and diversity of services we provide, no two days are the same really but essentially my days will cover: looking at current business, considering where we are against budgeted and planned performance and looking to future business development. This activity is all set in the context of our vision, mission and values that underpin the business plan and core objectives. All of it involves a lot of liaison with people inside the business and external partners, such as local authorities, the NHS, our teams and other partners. Also, due to our national presence and scope of business, linking in with regional and national policy work in the sector, for example with professional associations, other large providers and organisations such as the Department of Health and Social Care, Skills for Care, Association of Directors of Social Services and the Local Government Association.

RISE: What do you love most about your job?

Raina: The purpose, the people and the variety. Above all the fact that what Agincare and our teams do makes a real difference to peoples’ lives at critical times and the fact that I get to support and influence that and the wider sector in some way. Also, the feeling of satisfaction of being part of a fantastic team building an increasingly successful and sustainable business that gives employment, development, networks and a sense of place and friendship to around 4,000 people. Small moments of interaction with people who use our services or on talking with our teams are often the highlights of my week.

RISE: How did you get to where you are today?

Raina: I started as a frontline care worker when I was 19, working in a variety of roles covering hospitals, care homes and community. This led me to work for Social services where I was seconded to do my social work training, which I completed in 1997; following further development in this role and achievement of my MA in the evenings, I became a social care regulator for what is now the Care Quality Commission. In 2004, I had the opportunity to join a small but growing family business – Agincare – and the rest is history!

RISE: What is it like working within care? Are there highs and lows?

Raina: I have always been passionate about social care and supporting people, challenging injustice and it’s all I know as a career. There are certainly challenges and resilience is needed both in a personal and business capacity. There is a lot of frustration over the lack of understanding, funding and support of the workforce from government and therefore wider society. Fundamental issues that are causing critical shortfalls in care are simply not addressed and there are consequences that everyone in the sector – workforce and people receiving support services and their families alike – are feeling. That can be hard for people and off-putting. As a care provider or an individual within the sector (in any role), there is a great sense of responsibility. Feeling that you have let anyone down on a personal or professional level, even if not your ‘fault’ is the most difficult part of working in this sector. Offset though by those moments of interaction with people where you can see ‘I/we made a difference’ and the fun, camaraderie and commitment shared in daily work. You can always do something right, do what you do well and always make a difference even within such a difficult system. Overall, I feel amazingly lucky to love what I do and still have such an interest in it after all these years.

RISE: If you were going to give advice to someone that was thinking of starting a career in care, what would you say?

Raina: Go for it and don’t let people put you off! The world is your oyster. There are so many wonderful jobs in the sector, so many different paths for development and something for everyone – values, kindness, compassion and personality are key, the rest might be complex at times but can be learned. Some excel at frontline care work and want to remind providing an essential role there but others develop into team leader, manager roles, head office support roles, nurses, OTs, Social workers or into policy or Directorships. As the current Department of Health and Social Care campaign says ‘every day is different’. People don’t tend to come into it for the glamour or recognition or the money and working conditions, though despite what people believe there are actually many well paid career options in the sector.

So many people hate their jobs, it’s a chore and a way to earn a living. Most people in social care don’t feel that, even though their jobs are tough and they may be tired and want to work different hours or earn more money. If they are still there after a few weeks, they usually love what they do and feel rewarded by it. That’s a great charm of the sector!

RISE: When you made the decision to be a sponsor of the Rock Star Awards (our awards show that celebrates young people across Dorset and Hampshire) this year what was your main reason for this?

Raina: Having attended the last awards, I was blown away by the whole event and stories told. It was a brilliant concept, well organised and a great platform to showcase young people and celebrate what they do – sometimes despite very adverse conditions. This aligned with my own personal and professional experience and awareness of many young people in caring roles doing amazing work or personal caring, who simply get no recognition for this. So, Agincare sponsoring this new ‘Young Carer’ category felt right for us, for the Rock Star Awards and to help raise awareness of care and the stories of caring that are around us all every day.

Whilst career highs and glorified success are the things many people aspire to, finding your path in the career circuit is not always the easiest task.

There is no magic formula to success, no matter how much we all crave for there to be an easy route. But finding your footing early on can, and will propel you forward before you know it.

But how do you do this? How can I make my mark now whilst I’m still young? Is it as easy as ABC?

Luckily this is more than just a pipe dream. Knowing how important it is to get a head start in this competitive race, Angela Piromalli, MD of Rock is providing young, savvy individuals the perfect chance to put their foot in the door through our Rock Star awards.

 

A Push In The Right Direction

A gateway into the career world, the Rock Star awards round up the best young talent in Dorset. Since 2012, the awards themselves celebrate and round people into incredible young stars. Dorset companies also take interest in the Rock Star awards, and keep an eye on those involved to see where they go next.

The Rock Star awards have given many the boost they need to kick-start their careers into new, exciting directions. Offering a supportive hand to people wanting to succeed, Angela highlights how the awards nurture talent and provides the groundworks to grow outside of the Rise family, whilst acting as supportive roots. Angela said,

“The awards are just the start. It’s the first big showcase, but then it is the lifelong journey for all of us together.”

On a personal note, Angela’s creation instils self-belief that people lacked beforehand:

“We all limit ourselves, and to get that pat on the back and be recognised externally, you see people lift up. Every single person has gone on to what they want to do.”

The awards offer a backbone for people to lean on and work with in their endeavours, providing endless support in any means necessary. Angela sees these people as more than a business relationship:

“They are like my children. They are part of my Rise family now, and I take as much responsibility and pride in them as I do for my team internally and the clients I work with.”

For Angela, the Rock award winners are more than passing individuals, they are her greatest achievements,

“To see them grow and be part of their journey is the best feeling.”

 

Growing Together, Not Falling Apart 

After winning the awards, people do not just disappear.

Keeping in touch is fundamental to our relationship with the Rock Stars, and is organic on both ends. Everyone is part of the family.

No one amplifies this message more than Crispin Hutton. Winner of our Media Star of the Future award in 2015, Crispin propelled himself at the age of 16 to achieve the career goals he had always dreamed of, founding Thin Reel Media, based in Poole, a videography company.

Fresh faced and with an outstanding drive, Crispin stood out against his older counterparts. His background in the British Film Institute Film Academy spurred his creative flow and led to his nomination for the award. Just one example of the various backgrounds nominees can come from.

With natural talent and the determination to succeed, Crispin acknowledges his Rise beginnings when discussing his achievements. The awards marked his first recognition within the industry, a big feat for any young person.

“I was never very academic, so to be recognised for these kind of awards from leaders within the industry was fantastic.”

Since he has won the award, Crispin has achieved everything he set out to do with the help of Rise, knowing exactly what he wanted. Angela remembers how determined he was, “He took it with both hands and made it happen.”

 

Building Connections

Whilst every individual has achieved of their own accord, the Rock Star awards have helped facilitate success for many including Crispin. Branching out from his Rise roots, he was then able to turn something he loved into a fully-fledged career.

On a company level, Crispin’s career only grew after his Rise relationship was cemented.

“I was in Sixth Form when I won the award, so then I went freelance which just secured that this is what I want to do.”

Crispin told us the recognition he received allowed him to secure his path, alongside handing him a pool of potential employers and clients to work with. Spotting people in meetings who were, years earlier, attendees of the awards event just demonstrates the grand scale of the award’s impact.

Operating near the Rise family by continuing to work in Dorset, Crispin believes the skillsets people can offer on the coast are invaluable:

“It’s a great launch path for business here, with a supportive community and healthy competition. If I ever have any issues I always feel there is someone to knock on the door of and ask for help.”

 

Let’s Conclude

It is hard to get into your career at such a young age. Facing the reality of a fresh new career can be daunting.

Getting in the right frame of mind as early as possible will set you up for success, and these awards offer a fantastic gateway into the world you want to be in. In the words of Crispin,

“We are a generation with a tremendous amount of opportunity, but a lack of focus sometimes.

“The awards are a vessel to get you on the right path.”

To discover more about the Rock Awards, from award categories, to sponsorship, to dates then get in touch with Fleur at fleur.cook@letsrise.co.uk