International Women's Day Spotlight: Ellen West - Antser

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International Women’s Day Spotlight: Ellen West

My parents believed boys go to university and girls have a vocation.

 

My role is Head of Procedures.

My full time working life started at the age of 16 as an accounts clerk for a very small family run business. My dream had been to attend further education, university, become an archaeologist and travel the world.

In the twist and turns of my personal life and career path, I ended up in the children’s social care arena. All of my further education was undertaken at a mature age! 

For the past 15 years I have been working in tri.x, now part of Antser. Today I am the Head of Procedures and work with a wonderful bunch of colleagues who make this role so worthwhile and enjoyable. The tight schedule we all work towards keeps us on the straight and narrow, but every day something different will take us off on a task we had not planned for that day.

Working directly with children and their families started from when I became a nursery school leader. I remember thinking that this would be so rewarding and all sweetness in this rose covered environment. The reality was different, it was then I was fully plunged into safeguarding issues, family poverty and children with special educational needs.  However, this is when my career took a big turning point and I focused my degree and learning on the early years and children with complex needs. 

After many years of working within education settings, child protection and integrated disability services, I made the decision to move into the business of policies and procedures.

As my colleagues will say, we are proud of the services and products we produce and the reputation we have in providing those services to local authorities and independent providers. Joining the Antser Group has brought a further wealth of skill, knowledge, and joined up working with other colleagues across the group.

If asking about the achievement I’m most proud of in my career, I would say that would go to the moment I had taught a young lad with autism to communicate using a computer device, and he told me ‘No, I want play’. He didn’t want the work I was relentlessly trying to get him to do, he wanted to go outside and play. He made a choice.

The biggest challenge in my career has been juggling looking after my 2 children (adults now), a home, full time work and also completing my degree. I wouldn’t have changed anything about the way this happened; all the skills and knowledge I had gained in my working life enabled me to cope with whatever was thrown at me and to have a thirst for knowledge. 

The advice I would give to women looking to enter a career in my industry is: Never think you can’t do, change it to looking at how you can do. Sometimes the speed we work at and the requirement to meet timescales can override the reason why we are doing the work we do. It is important to step back, reflect, learn and re-engage.

Breaking down barriers and perceptions requires us to break and go against the rules.

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