‘I can use my skills to make a difference’: Shashini’s story

A selfie of Shashini

We spoke to Shashini, 41, who is based in Coventry and is originally from Sri Lanka. In this interview, she talks about her plans to combine her experience working in care with her studies in data science, and how FuturU is helping her along the way.

How did you get into healthcare?

I’ve spent the majority of my career working in the IT field back in my home country of Sri Lanka. Healthcare is something I only came across after moving to the UK in 2022. I started working part-time in a care home for six months while studying for my master’s degree in data science and engineering, and I found it really interesting. I stopped working for a while to focus on my studies, but I’m now looking for a full-time job again.

I also have a lot of experience caring for family members back home. For example, taking care of my parents and grandmother. I’ve always been caring and empathetic, which has helped prepare me for this line of work. 

What do you enjoy most about working in care?

I enjoy having discussions with the people I care for and making them feel good about themselves. When I was working in the care home, there was a lady I looked after who had an amputated leg and was in a wheelchair. Whenever she saw me, she always asked me to make her a coffee and then we’d have a chat. She felt comfortable with me and could tell me anything. I could tell how thankful she was that I’d spent a few minutes talking to her.

I’ve learned through this experience that you can heal someone with words, not just with medication. I saw that with my mother who passed away due to kidney failure. There was a kind doctor who always treated her with kind words and was also smiling. Those things made my mother’s whole day. 

What would you say to someone considering a job in care?

I’d say take the training first, as having some understanding before you start in care is really important. There are also lots of great opportunities to progress in care. If you start as a care assistant, you can climb up to a home manager level. It’s definitely not a stagnating job!

How did you discover FuturU?

I discovered FuturU a few months ago when I was applying for care assistant jobs. I had a look and realised it was free. I like that I can access the training from home and I find it really useful. I’m able to refresh my knowledge from my previous training sessions as well as learn new things. I’ve only done a few courses but the knowledge I’ve gained gives me confidence when applying for jobs.

I have a lot of friends working as carers and I’ve shared FuturU’s app with them. I recently spoke with a lady from my country of Sri Lanka who is interested in working in a healthcare setting. I told her FuturU’s training is available for free and that she’d be able to get an idea of how the UK system worked.

What’s your dream for the future?

I would love to work as a data analyst in a care setting. It’s so important for care organisations to use data to make decisions, especially when it comes to taking care of people. One area I’m particularly interested in is dementia. I want to figure out what causes dementia by doing surveys and research. For example, we could look into how smoking affects dementia. By understanding the reasons behind it, we can start to find ways to prevent it.

Seeing people struggle with conditions like dementia has been really difficult. I want to do something about it, but even after talking with friends who work in the industry, we haven’t found any solid answers yet. The same goes for other chronic conditions like diabetes, heart failure, and kidney failure. That’s where my skills as a data analyst come in. I believe I can use them to make a difference. I’m passionate about helping out and using my abilities to make things better for people who need care.

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