Megan Garden-Wright is an office administrator with a difference; she does double duty as a cleaner in the same premises.

And the fact that she works in a care home means that Megan’s dual role serves her well. “Cleaning the residents’ rooms lets me spend time with and meet people, so I can literally put a face to the names of the people on our files. And when it comes to talking to our relatives, it gives me a much better understanding of their loved ones and their situations,” she says.

Megan, 19, previously worked in childcare but had always been interested in an administration role. She saw that Balhousie Alastrean, a care home in the rural village of Tarland, Aberdeenshire, was looking for someone part-time. Realising that the home was recruiting staff for other roles, she offered to fill the other weekdays as a domestic.

Both positions were daunting at first for her. She had never worked with older people before. “It was difficult to get used to at first because many of our residents have dementia. And as a domestic you can’t help a resident, that’s the job of a carer or nurse.”

But the boost in her confidence and experience is palpable, she says. “I took the nursery job straight out of school, so Alastrean is only my second job. I’m trying to improve my confidence and be more independent and working for Balhousie is definitely helping with that as it’s not the exact same staff and relatives each day.”

She adds: “Having my dual duties is adding to my experience. Working as the admin I’m involved with accountant roles, I’m starting to learn about payroll and also some human resources duties are involved so I’m gaining loads of experience.”

Given that Balhousie Care Group is a large company – it manages Alastrean House and owns and operates another 25 care facilities across six regions of Scotland – Megan sees opportunities for career progression. “I’m more aware of the administrator career paths and that being with Balhousie has expanded my options,” she says.

Cleaning a place like Alastrean House, a grand former country home with 51 bedrooms, five resident lounges and some very high ceilings, is no mean feat. “Luckily we have equipment to reach the ceilings!” says Megan, who lives just a 10 minute drive from the home.

However, the stunning setting, including landscaped gardens and a huge surrounding estate, is a big draw for both Megan and the rest of the Alastrean staff. “When I first came up the driveway I thought, is that Alastrean? It looked like Hogwarts from Harry Potter!”

Another attraction is the competitive pay rates, which start at £10 an hour, and £11.50 an hour for care roles.

What Megan loves most, though, is that she is literally working in a home. Outside her office, residents make use of one of the many seating areas at Alastrean House, stopping by, chatting and hanging out.

Julie Suttar, Home Manager at Balhousie Alastrean, says: “Though I’m new to the Manager role at Alastrean, I have been managing for more than 18 years and on meeting Megan I have been really impressed by her positive can-do attitude. She also has great time management skills, particularly in prioritising her workload in both her admin and domestic roles.

“I very much look forward to supporting Megan on her future career path and we are all proud to have her as part of the team at Balhousie Alastrean.”

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