Careers in social care
Prue Nielsen is day services manager at Westminster Council in London.
How long in the job? 18 months
Best training ever done: Course on autism by most inspiring trainer who made me really consider how autistic people see the world.
During my career, I wish I had: Not been afraid to question decisions that I thought were wrong and fought harder to get the resources needed.
I didn’t get where I am today by: Saying that things cannot change and not looking for solutions. Being ready to take risks, always giving new initiatives a go and believing that everyone has the same rights to make changes in their lives are the values I live and work by.
Most painful lesson I’ve learned at work is: I hate playing politics and accepting that others do not always have the same values as me.
Me and my career: No two days are the same. A typical working day may involve a supervision session with one of seven service managers, followed by meetings on anything from marketing of our services, new staff training initiatives, to our choosing staff work where service users are trained to interview and recruit staff who work with them.
A lot of my work is raising awareness about people with disabilities so they can access opportunities and be included. This means I need to keep going to corporate and policy making forums (not my favourite places!) and make sure that people in other areas of the council know about us.
I really enjoy my job. I changed my career 17 years ago and have never regretted a minute of it. I like people, finding solutions and change management. It’s a long way from the world of fashion but very real work and in a small way I hope I make a difference.
2004-now Day services manager, Westminster Council, London
2003-4 Manager, resource centre, Barnet Council, London
2002-3 Acting community resources manager, Kensington & Chelsea Council, London
2000-2 Community action team manager, Kensington & Chelsea Council, London
1996-2000 Day centre manager, Kensington & Chelsea Council, London
1993-6 Day centre officer, Barnet Council, London
1988-1993 Tutor and special needs co-ordinator, Camden Council, London