She’s making a career out of caring – with ‘ridiculously amazing’ success

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At 26 years old, Jozi Stables is Balhousie’s youngest care home manager ever. We talk to her about what drives her to make a career out of caring.

“Make Today Ridiculously Amazing” says a piece of art on Jozi Stables’ office wall. It joins other words of encouragement as well as many photos – of the residents and staff of the care home where Jozi has just been appointed manager.

At the age of 26, Jozi is the youngest care home manager at Balhousie Care Group, heading up 36 full- and part-time staff at Balhousie Ruthven Towers in Auchterarder.

And her achievements don’t just stop at climbing to a high point of the ladder at a young age. Jozi was a recent finalist in the Scottish Care Awards for a training and development programme between Balhousie and the Prince’s Trust Scotland. Balhousie joined forces with the Trust earlier this year to offer young people the opportunity to train for a career in the care sector. She worked with seven young people who were on a five-week training programme.

For Jozi it was important to help raise awareness about working in the care sector, and the prospects awaiting young people who entered it. “There are many different perceptions about what a care role looks like and there is a lack of awareness about how rewarding and varied it can be. By introducing young people to the industry in partnership with organisations such as the Prince’s Trust, we have been able to open up the care sector to people who perhaps wouldn’t have considered it before,” she says.

On top of that, Ruthven Towers has just achieved grade 5 ratings from the Care Inspectorate for staffing, management, care and environment.

You might say Jozi’s achievements are “ridiculously amazing”, just like that quote on her wall. But ask anyone who knows her and they’ll say they’re not the least bit surprised.

At the age of 14 Jozi began working in a care home kitchen part time doing dishes and soon realised that she wanted to make this sector her career. She joined Balhousie Care Group as a shift leader in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. She was asked by the company to work at its head office in Perth in a learning and development position. “But I missed being in the homes too much,” says Jozi. After joining Ruthven Towers as an assistant care home manager in June 2015, Jozi was promoted to care home manager in October.

Jozi is modest about her achievements, emphasising the support of her colleagues and managers at Balhousie. Meanwhile, it seems that Jozi’s enthusiasm is a little infectious.  “She brings so much energy to the position and it’s refreshing to be around her,” says Kirstene Feenan, marketing manager for the group.

Jozi makes our Together We’re Great initiative a priority, in that she recognises the skills, talents and attributes of every person in her care home, just as Balhousie does across the group.  Staff recognition is high on her list. In the case of Ruthven Towers it usually takes the form of something fun – a Mr & Mrs style game show, for example.

“It may sound cheesy but working here is like being part of a family. Some of the staff have been here for 20 plus years. To me that’s important because you’ve got consistency for the residents,” says Jozi.

The feeling of family and support is strong within Ruthven Towers and it’s a theme that spills over into the home’s local community work too. For Jozi and her staff, community involvement could be anything from meeting local councillors to inviting preschoolers for storytime sessions to, as happened recently, donating Oor Wullie annuals to a local school.

“I’m passionate about community engagement. Right now I’m doing a lot of networking and learning, attending community meetings and meeting local councillors and GPs. It’s good to hear other people’s ideas and how things work in different companies and organisations. I’m a bit like a sponge at the moment!” she laughs.