When he left school at 16 to work in local kitchens, working in a care home was the last thing on Martyn White’s mind.

He wanted a job – any job – so he followed his passion for cooking. But while he loved the work, he didn’t love the hours. “Working long hours and weekends and not being able to socialise with my friends, that was tough,” he says.

Martyn, a keen football player, also gave up football for a time. Before long he dipped into a depression, and it was his dad Andrew who inspired him to turn things around.

Andrew White had returned to higher education at age 44, to study nursing. Martin enrolled at Perth UHI on an administration and information technology course – and loved it. He spent his three years at college balancing studies with part-time work in kitchens, before graduating with an HND.

Work didn’t come immediately; for six months Martyn was unemployed. “I kept applying for jobs and they wanted previous experience. It was very frustrating,” he says.

When Balhousie Luncarty care home was looking for an administrator, management took a punt on the college leaver. He didn’t have previous admin experience, but they saw his potential and his way with people. And Martyn, now 31, has never looked back.

His day-to-day duties include everything from handling petty cash transactions to residents’ allowances and organisational paperwork. In three years he has established himself as a go-to for other care home administrators in Balhousie Care Group, which operates 26 homes across six regions of Scotland. He is often to be found travelling to other homes to help with training or trouble-shooting, or on the phone or a Teams call with new recruits to help them learn the ropes.

“I love passing on my knowledge to others,” he says. “And there are so many new systems to get used to, I want to help.”

Balhousie Luncarty, a 29-room residential home in Perthshire, has a tight-knit team of staff. Part of Martyn’s role is to oversee COVID vaccinations in the home. And he helps in the kitchen if an extra cook is needed, or if a colleague is off sick.

Martyn’s hard work and commitment were rewarded in November 2021 when he was named Ancillary Worker of the Year in the national Great British Care Awards.

The judges lauded him for his “kindness and willingness of putting other people first”. In a challenging year for the care home sector, this Everyday Hero shone for his hard work and his support of other colleagues in the homes and across Balhousie’s other facilities, said the organisers.

Of his radical career change and joining Balhousie Luncarty, Martyn says: “I wanted an office job, Monday to Friday, but I never imagined it would be in a care home. I had no idea what this job would be like but it has turned out to be one of the best places I have ever worked.

“One of the best things is talking to the residents,” he adds. “Listening to their stories when they tell you about the things they have done is fascinating.”

He’s delighted, too, that his nine-to-five role at Balhousie Luncarty frees him up to play football again, after a break of about eight years, for Kinrossie Caledonian AFC. “I’m out again playing and socialising with my friends and it’s great,” he says.

Watch Martyn share his story on overcoming depression to find his vocation in the care sector.

View Balhousie’s current vacancies here, or email careers@balhousiecare.co.uk