Social Care CLE Guide

Jez Ashdown

Locality Manager (North West) - Skills for Care

“Being in a social care environment gave me a lot more choice in my career.  I wasn’t necessarily constrained by professional pathways and I’ve had some great employers that supported me along my journey”

Jez started work as in a care assistant role in a Learning Disability (LD) & Mental Health service after leaving school with few qualifications. He then went on to study to become a LD Nurse because he soon realised that was his area of interest.  He trained within an NHS old fashioned institutional setting and admitted, back then, it was in a very negative experience in a dehumanising environment.  

When Jez finished his training there weren’t any local jobs within the NHS that weren’t in institutional settings and so Jez used his area of specialism to work in behavioural support with children (and later adults) within a local authority.  He then became a manager of a resettlement scheme involved in the closure of the very hospital where he had trained!

After that Jez managed independent sector provider services in social care as a registered manager with a special interest in complex needs.  From there he took a role within commissioning services as he wanted to see the other side of the coin.  He was involved with one of the very first integrated locality teams between social care, nursing and housing which was quite ground-breaking at that time!  After 7 years in public sector management roles he realised that it wasn’t an environment which gave him the freedom to develop his interests and he then became a director of a learning disability service before deciding to go into self-employment as a project manager to accommodate his personal circumstances as a foster carer. During this time Jez managed to squeeze in part time study for an MSc in Leadership.

Once his caring duties allowed, Jez went to work  in extra-care and sheltered housing development before joining Skills for Care as a locality manager for the Northwest of England where he remains today.

When asked to reflect upon his incredible journey Jez said he gained the most satisfaction from supporting and enabling others with their career journeys and seeing people achieve goals they may have felt were beyond their reach.  Although he started his career in nursing, he said that working within social care had given him a lot more choice than he would have had if he had stayed within the NHS. However, he recognises that LD Nursing is a lot more valued now than it was when he started his career, and that today’s nurses have more opportunities that he ever had as a newly qualified nurse in the 1980s. 

Jez concludes by saying that he has had a variety of job roles along the way but has always focussed on things that have interested him and excited him.  He never felt defined as a nurse although that gave him a set of skills and knowledge that could be used as a launch pad to other things. Jez joined Skills for Care in 2018 as he wanted to use his knowledge and experience to support providers and other stakeholders to address some of the challenges they face. 

Jez says his role is hard to describe but is basically about engagement with providers and stakeholders to make sure they benefit from Skills for Care’s work, and to bring people together to facilitate collaboration and cooperation. The role gives him a lot of job satisfaction and the opportunity to work with some great people and organisations across Greater Manchester.