An air steward and a pub manager enjoy their new lockdown careers as carers in Essex

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 July 2020

Abigail Byrne and Arron Griggs with Ivy Asker, a Caremark client since 2013. Picture: CAREMARK

Abigail Byrne and Arron Griggs with Ivy Asker, a Caremark client since 2013. Picture: CAREMARK

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New careers have emerged unexpectedly out of the lockdown. Abigail Byrne a former air steward and Arron Griggs, previously a chef and a pub manager, are both working as carers for the elderly.

New careers have emerged unexpectedly out of the lockdown.

Abigail Byrne, a former air steward and Arron Griggs, previously a chef and a pub manager, are now both working as carers.

After completely different careers, they now work for Caremark in Dunmow, a company which looks after people, mostly elderly or vulnerable, in the clients’ own homes.

Arron’s last job was in a pub, at the Axe and Compasses in Aythorpe Roding.

He had worked there on and off for 13 years.

He joined the establishment at 17. The pub company, which also owns the Angel and Harp in Dunmow, sent him to Colchester College to train as a chef.

He enjoyed working cooking for several years before moving to front of house and eventually becoming a manager.

Now 30, he decided just before the lockdown that he wanted to try something new.

“I left in February. I thought it was time for a change. I thought I’d take a couple of months off to unwind and relax.

“Then, when the lockdown came, I thought, I need to do something.

“I’d had a care job seven years ago and I thought I’d like to go back to that.”

He added: “I’m quite a sociable and talkative person and I find being able to help people in their daily lives very rewarding.

“There are people who need a lot of help. They need hoists and wheelchairs so without us, they would be stuck in bed.

“Then there are others who don’t need as much support. They are fairly independent and we are helping to promote their independence as far as possible.”

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Arron knows the area well.

His parents live in Aythorpe Roding, he grew up in the district and was a pupil at Helena Romanes School.

After just six weeks in this new job, he says it has now become a vocation for him and he is hoping he will be able to carry out the role full time.

He said: “At the back of my mind, I knew that was what I wanted to do. The lockdown gave me a push, and I’m glad it did.”

Air steward Abigail, 21, moved jobs from Gatwick to Stansted in February only to find her job with Jet2 hit by the lockdown in March.

She said: “I loved my job as cabin crew. I’d flown all over Europe, Mexico, Africa. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

“But then after the lockdown, everything stopped and we were let go.

“I was disappointed but we were given people to talk to and reassured. We were promised that we would get our jobs back next year. We were told that it wasn’t the end.”

Meanwhile, she needed to find work.

“I thought caring for people was the most suitable job for me. It was similar to what I had been doing on the planes.

“I like looking after people. All my work had been in customer service where people are the centre of the job. “I love what I am doing now, working with clients, meeting people and being with a good team. It’s different work and it’s a nice change.”

Abigail had moved to Bishop’s Stortford from Brighton with her partner Louis Czaja-Rogers.

He was also a member of cabin crew.

“That’s how we met. Ironically, he now has a job in a funeral home. He says it’s a very interesting job. Like me, he is meeting people every day.”

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Abigail and Arron are pictured here with Ivy Asker, a client with Caremark since 2013.


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