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From Oz to Alcester – one live-in carer’s journey

mareta edit

Picture when you started a job for the very first time. How did you feel? Nervous? Excited?
Now imagine travelling hundreds of miles to find your dream job on the other side of the world. Would you do it? That is exactly what one of our new live-in carers did!

Mareta Saolotoga was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up in the Pacific Islands of Samoa before studying in the multicultural city of Melbourne. As a result, she has developed a strong understanding of other cultures and her time growing up in Samoa also gave her a natural respect for nature and her elders. When she discovered an opportunity to come to the UK and work as a live-in carer, Mareta knew that it was too good a chance to pass her by.

“I came across Helping Hands during a search on the internet looking for new opportunities abroad,”

Mareta explains.

“I chose Helping Hands because It made sense to me since I had a nursing background and working as a disability support carer at the time. What attracted me to come to Britain was the awareness that it was possible to live and work in Britain, a country that has a wealth of history and then you look at the rest of the neighbouring countries and all the different cultures just only a few hours away. That was huge for me.”

Mareta joined Helping Hands having worked in a number of different areas, including as a disability support carer, nursing, hospitality and working within an office. She takes great pride in her communication skills and enjoyed building rapport with her customers. Now as a live-in carer, Mareta works to understand what her customer needs from her and she feels that it has given her the opportunity to not only utilise the various skills she has developed over the course of her career but also to make a difference in another person’s life.

“Giving time to those who need support is something truly special,” she says. “It’s not something that can be taught in a text book, it must be a genuine love for people.”

Since working with Helping Hands, Mareta has supported individuals with various conditions and has gained some special memories. Though she loves working with all of her customers and enjoys her work, Mareta finds it very difficult when her placement comes to an end. Nevertheless, she is always touched at how welcoming her customers’ families have been and she also enjoys learning about the history of their local area. One particular memory that has stayed with Mareta came when she supported a gentleman who was well known within his local community. The gentleman introduced Mareta to his own social circle and she soon established a fantastic relationship with him, so much so that the gentleman was able to have the lifestyle that he wanted and they shared a great deal of laughter.

Another memorable occasion Mareta has comes from when she cared for a customer with hearing and visual impairments. One day, whilst they were having lunch together, Mareta and her customer began singing some songs together and did not realise they had an audience! She was later approached by a stranger who complimented her on her work with tears in her eyes. This was a moving experience for Mareta, and one that has stayed with her to this day. Mareta also feels that the support she has had from her manager has been vital. Even during difficult periods, Mareta has always been backed by her manager and this support has made her feel valued in her work.

“For me the reassurance that Helping Hands is there behind it’s staff and follows up on how I am coping during my placement, has a huge impact on how I feel – this makes me feel like a really valued member of the team.” she adds.

Finally, Mareta has a word of advice for anyone looking to become a live-in carer themselves. She has found her experience to be life-changing and rewarding, and hopes that other people can share similar experiences. Initially, Mareta was nervous about not being able to connect with her customer, however she was soon reassured by the Helping Hands Training Team and she found that her training gave her a strong insight into the British way of life. She has also had several opportunities to travel whilst still having plenty of work available to her.“What are you waiting for?” she says with a broad smile. “During my second year with Helping Hands, I decided to take on a permanent position that was vacant and could not ask for anything more than that. It doesn’t feel like I’m working, I truly feel a part of the family and also there’s a family dog I get to walk during my breaks I feel very lucky to be a part of this company.”

Could you be a live-in carer like Mareta and make a difference in someone else’s life? Get in touch with our Australia based Recruitment Partner Kellie McLaughlin: kellie@under31.com.au or alternatively if you are in the UK contact our Recruitment Team at Recruitmentlive-in@helpinghands.co.uk and find out about our live-in carer vacancies today!

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