We caught up with Fran Gudger, Head of Independent Living at L&Q Living, to share her career journey – from the early days as a carer to senior management.
Fran started her career at Trafford Housing Trust working for Trustcare. As of April 2023, Trafford Housing Trust and L&Q will come together as one organisation. Fran heads up operational and strategic management of Sheltered Housing, Care and Alert and Response for L&Q Living (LQL).
What experience/qualifications did you have before you came into L&Q business?
Apart from the qualifications I gained after leaving high school, I didn’t have any other qualifications under my belt. I learned on the job as I went along, increasing my knowledge and skills through experience and the excellent training I was offered, including a Certificate in Management.
Talk us through your career journey since you joined L&Q.
After 18 months working as a carer, my son started nursery so I decided to bite the bullet and go back to working full-time. Initially, I got a job as a Scheme Manager and moved to Trafford Housing Trust as part of the stock transfer in 2005. I then went to help in the office as the administrator had broken her arm, and I never went back to my Scheme Manager role, it was here I was offered a job as Service Development Officer.
A couple of years later I applied for and was successful in being appointed to managing the mobile wardens, a service that I expanded to become Alert and Response, started call handling and providing a range of telecare equipment to help support vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes. After being promoted to Head of Independent Living eight years ago, I project managed the development of the care service. I am now responsible for operational and strategic management of Sheltered Housing, Care and Alert and Response, and oversee around 155 colleagues in the team.
How have you been supported your career over the years?
I can’t speak highly enough about the qualifications and support available for all colleagues at L&Q. Over the years, I have attended many training programmes to improve my skills and knowledge as a manager. I have also received individual coaching and mentoring and achieved a management qualification.
How does L&Q differ from other businesses in the care sector?
We really care about the people we provide care to, and the quality of support they receive. We know to do that we need to care about and invest in the people who work for us, too. The package we offer carers is designed to ensure they have everything they need to meet their wellbeing needs.
What would be a typical day at work for you?
It’s a cliché but no two days are the same. I speak to all the managers who work for me most days, so always know what is going on. I also get to spend some time visiting the schemes and customers. Sometimes I may spend all day helping to resolve an issue, for example, a warden call system may not be working, and we need to put something in place to keep customers safe. On another day, I may be meeting with the Commissioning Team from the local council to discuss a new pilot, or going to a team meeting, then visiting some customers. I spend time in meetings with other colleagues from across the business too.
What do you love about your job?
I love the fact that no two days are the same, the range of things I get involved in is vast. I also love working for a company that truly makes a difference to people. I hear so many fantastic stories about the great work L&Q Living does – this is what makes the difficult times worthwhile, and what motivates me to get up in the morning.