She's making a career out of caring - with ‘ridiculously amazing' success
Jozi Stables' story is one of hard work and dedication. She progressed from doing dishes in a care home kitchen to becoming the youngest care home manager at Balhousie Care Group.
"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 27, Jozi is the youngest care home manager at Balhousie Care Group. She heads up 48 full- and part-time staff at Balhousie Ruthven Towers, a Scottish care home which has achieved top Grade 6 ratings from the Care Inspectorate for its management, leadership and standards of care.
Jozi is a two-time finalist in the Scottish Care Awards, for her innovative practice techniques and for a training and development programme between Balhousie Care Group and the Prince's Trust Scotland. Balhousie Care joined forces with the Trust to offer young people the opportunity to train for a career in the care sector.
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.
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 in the town of Auchterarder as an assistant care home manager in June 2015, Jozi was promoted to care home manager in October 2016. Among her qualifications are distance learning courses in health and social care, and Scottish Vocational Qualifications, including a Leadership & Management in Cares Services SVQ.
Ruthven Towers was awarded the Grade 6 ratings for Management and Leadership and also Care and Support after measures were introduced which saw residents, their families and staff involved in everything from policy and recruitment to activities at the home.
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, which has 25 care homes across Scotland.
Balhousie Care's Together We're Great policy recognises the skills, talents and attributes of every person in the organisation. What that means for a care home manager like Jozi is that 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 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.
Louise Barnett, operations director at Balhousie Care Group, said: "Jozi is a great example of how development pathways can really help someone succeed within their chosen career. She's always shown the passion and desire towards learning and progressing and now has the opportunity to shine as a great manager and leader for her team."
There are many ideas percolating for Jozi at Ruthven Towers, from extending accommodation options to developing the residents' garden to building even closer relations between staff. Amazing? Certainly. Ridiculous? Not at all.