A former “gift of the gab” taxi driver has revealed how he transferred his skills to start a career as a carer in South Lanarkshire when he lost his job during the pandemic.
Calum Hoey, 52, had been a cab driver in Glasgow for 12 years when he found himself with no work when the pandemic hit in 2020.
Looking for work, he applied to be a carer and in a bid to use his skillset as a chatty driver to help those struggling with loneliness in care homes.
Landing a job at South Lanarkshire Council’s Care at Home service, Calum revealed that his former career equipped him well – as “you cannot drive a taxi without being able to talk to people.”
He said: “That was 12 years I was taxxing, my own taxi.
“You cannot drive a taxi without being able to talk to people.
“And 75 percent of this job you are going into people that are lonely. I’ll maybe be the only person they see all day.
“So they are wanting to talk.”
Calum, who is now supporting a campaign aimed at recruiting more carers, has revealed how he “loves the people he meets” just as he did when taxi driving.
“They are fascinating to talk to, but it is also wonderful to feel that you are making a difference to their lives”, he added.
“Just as with the taxi-driving, I love the people I meet.
“They have all led lives, you know different generations and they’ve all got stories to tell.
“So I’ll quite happily go in there and chat away with them while I’m doing my work.
“It’s all down to trust as well. You’ve got to gain the client’s trust and once you’ve got that trust it makes it so much easier to do the job.
“If I’m coming away and they’ve got a smile on their face it makes my job a lot easier.”
Soumen Sengutpa, director of health and social care in South Lanarkshire, praised the “superhuman” efforts of carers such as Calum, and the part they played throughout the pandemic.
“What resonates is not only the positive impact our home carers have on people’s everyday lives – but how the role has been life changing for those who fulfil it”, he said.
“The effort and commitment of our diverse workforce has been nothing short of superhuman throughout the pandemic.
“They continue to play a crucial role going forward as a vital part of our health and social care services. They are our superheroes.”