We’re delighted to welcome Sarita Baxter and Sandra Rogers to our Learning & Development team. Their appointment comes as part of a strengthening and streamlining of the training and development programmes offered across our 11 homes and support offices. They have replaced the quality & training co-ordinator role that used to sit within each home and will use their considerable knowledge, skills and experience to deliver consistent and focused content across the whole organisation.

Sarita looks after our homes in the Kent and Sussex area, travelling to other venues as required. She brings to the role huge experience in both quality and training, having worked for nine years as a quality control inspector for children’s care homes across Kent and further afield. Sarita had already started becoming involved in training, as she found that checking the home’s requirements often meant assessing staff capability and the need for further training in certain areas. She would eventually win the company’s Esland Star Award for outstanding work with children – the prize being a week-long holiday in Turkey!

From there she moved full time into training as a regional trainer for a group of residential care homes, training staff to look after adults with learning difficulties. She supported 19 different services across the south and London, training in 25 different subjects including autism, epilepsy, diabetes etc. Over the years, she has trained people on a wealth of courses within the care sector, including children’s safeguarding, behaviour and train the trainer.

Sarita is also very interested in the IT aspects of training and later became a digital solutions lead, which involved running an online learning management system site for 2000 staff. While it was an incredibly busy period of her life, Sarita says that she enjoyed the role because it involved her passion. “I’m a real geek. I love gaming, computers, phones, and technology!” she says. Sadly, she was made redundant after four years because the company downsized.

Her IT experience will stand her in good stead, as part of her role at Canford Healthcare is to oversee the new Learning Management System (LMS). This will provide access to a whole range of virtual courses to sit alongside the delivery of face-to-face material. It will also keep a detailed record of training received and any courses that are required.

Away from work, Sarita enjoys her spare time with her firefighter husband Liam and their children Paul (18) and ten-year-old Harley-Faith. The family enjoys getting out in the fresh air and playing with their bulldog, Buddy.

Sandra also has many years’ experience, having worked out in the community and at previous residential care homes across the UK. However, she did not start out in training!

Thirty years ago, she was secretary to the Deputy Director of Social Services in Havering, Essex, when her husband became ill with bi-polar affective disorder. She left her job to learn more about the illness, becoming a support worker in a drop-in centre. She would later become manager (and later, regional manager) of Rethink, formerly known as the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, working with people who have experienced ill mental health and supporting them with education, training, and employment.

At this time, there was little training in mental health awareness for care staff, and so Sandra became a pioneer in this field. She went on to train Essex Police in handling situations involving people who were mentally ill while, simultaneously, helping people recovering from mental ill health to get back into employment.

Sandra was eventually made redundant from Rethink after a restructuring. She went freelance, training staff working in social care in such core skills as listening, being assertive, creative problem solving and public speaking and assessing them in the various different levels of qualifications. At this point in her career Sandra taught all around the UK, especially London and Norfolk.

Since 2012 Sandra has worked as a regional trainer within such well-known care providers as Care UK, Embrace Group, Brighterkind and Precious Homes. She was most recently training manager for Twinglobe Care in Essex before coming to Canford Healthcare, where she now trains care staff in our Essex and London homes.

“I’m very much enjoying getting out about in the homes and meeting people,” she says.

Sandra makes the most of her time outside work. For the last 14 years she has been actively involved in modern jive, a dance style derived from swing. Unable to continue her hobby during the pandemic, she is really looking forward to getting back into it after a couple of years away. She also has two children – Alex who is 46 and works with children in after-school clubs and Cassandra, a 44-year-old catering manager who works as a carer in her spare time. Between them, Alex and Cassandra have six children and three grandchildren, making Sandra a great-grandmother!

“Having such a big family really helps with my training role!” she laughs.