Progress Awarded Gold

Progress are delighted to announce that it has been awarded the Investors in People, We invest in people, Gold accreditation.

Investors in People (IIP) is a standard for people management, offering accreditation to organisations that adhere to its framework of good practice in the workplace.

With a community of 15,000 organisations across 75 countries, Progress is one of only 17% of accredited organisations that have achieved Gold.

Commenting on the award, Emma Ruffinato, HR Manager, said: “The gold accreditation is testament to our commitment to develop and take care of our staff. We will use the IIP assessment to continue to empower our staff across the organisation.”

Claire Rogers, Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by Investors in People. The progress values are reflected by the staff who deliver our services. This award is evidence that the ethos needed to be an Investors in People Gold organisation is in place.”

Paul Devoy, CEO of Investors in People, added: “We’d like to congratulate Progress. Gold accreditation on We invest in people is a fantastic effort for any organisation, and places Progress in fine company with a host of organisations that understand the value of people.”


Four Stories About Our Young People

“The young people I support are the reason why I am a support worker.”

We love to hear about the success and achievements of our young people. In their own way, they all make us proud of them. It’s also important to note the hard work our Support Workers do working with young people. They help them live life to the full! Here are few stories from Donna, a Progress support worker who says life is never dull working at Progress.


J.B used to lack confidence and often found it hard to interact with staff and other young people. His difficulty with freedom of movement meant he was sad and despondent. Going to college or being amongst people was always a negative experience for J.B.

However, over the last few months J.B has made huge changes and improvements in his life. For example, encouraged by Progress staff he took up climbing and recently passed his Level 2 course in rock climbing. J.B now has the confidence to go for his level 3!

By working hard on his team working skills and developing a trust with his climbing partners J.B has grown in confidence. He can now be in a room without protecting himself from people and speaks more positively when discussing college.  

J.B has come a long way.


K.B has raised hundreds of pounds for charities over the last 12 months. He always strives to do more at every opportunity and is always thinking of others. He is happy to help anyone and puts his all into everything he does.

Last year, he also passed his level 2 in sports leadership surpassing even his parents’ expectations!


TT has had a difficult year including losing his father. Despite this he has worked with his family and support workers to regularly volunteer at a local park. He is always on time and ready to help others. His tasks include clearing walk-ways of unwanted trees and holly and at the allotment, he litter picks the perimeter. TT works hard to get a job done.


M.L used to be supported by six members of staff. As you can imagine he had very complex needs. His team of support workers worked hard to ensure M.L needed less support so he could live a life with more independence.

The support workers listened to his needs and allowed him to take the lead to make his own decisions and this has worked wonders. M.L now interacts with all staff and handles being in the community and rarely has any frustrating moments. He no longer uses challenging/ harmful behaviour to get his point across.

He has totally changed to such a point that people we meet in the community from his old placements are shocked that he is only 2:1 now down from 6:1!

Working in Care Stories: Kim

Kim is a Team Leader at Progress’s Children’s Short Breaks service, Stourbridge House.

This is her story.

It was Kim Williams’ younger brother who inspired her to work in care. ‘He is autistic and I grew up caring for him,’ she says. ‘I love him to bits, he is such a character and I wanted to help people in a similar situation.’

Kim was just 18 when she became a volunteer for Progress, helping out with activities in the community to gain experience before she started studying for a social work degree. When she went to university, she was a support worker for Progress in her spare time. She then decided to focus on moving forward with her career full time.

‘Progress is a lovely company to work for. I think you are really valued as an employee,’ she says. ‘My line manager identified I had the ability to progress and supported me. I feel that support has been ongoing ever since.’

Kim went on to a senior position in The Hub, helping young people to develop their independence.

Now, at 22, she is team leader at Stourbridge House, which provides short breaks for children aged 5 to 18, giving families a break from day-to-day care. Stourbridge House provides a range of activities like trips to the seaside and theme parks, as well as supporting children and young people to move towards independence and grow in confidence.

Kim’s role involves managing and supervising staff, helping to run the home and supporting the young people. ‘No two days are the same,’ she says. ‘We have 40 different families, so every day different combinations of children come in. It’s really enjoyable to work with children with a variety of needs. Some days we have a child with severe challenging behaviour, other days it’s a child with severe learning difficulties and physical disabilities.

‘It’s lovely to see the children make progress and to see the families being able to have a break, with confidence their children are being well looked after. The children make a lot of progress here.’

Kim has encouraged others to follow in her footsteps and work for Progress. ‘Progress provide such a variety of support,’ she says. ‘It gives you the chance to find your niche and see what you enjoy. I was able to pinpoint where I wanted to be.’

She is hoping to continue moving forward in her career with Progress and one day she would like to manage a home. ‘At the moment I’m really happy in the role I’m in,’ she says.

Kim says it is more a way of life than a job. ‘I absolutely love it,’ she says. ‘It’s a homely environment and you are coming to support children. The children are all absolutely amazing. They are such a joy to work with and every single one of them has their own qualities. You build relationships with them. When I have annual leave and I have been off for a couple of weeks I miss it. I can’t wait to get back and see the kids. It’s a really rewarding role.’

Are you inspired by Kim’s story? A career in care awaits you. Start your journey by clicking here to apply for a job at Progress today.

Why work for Progress?

Are you thinking of working in care? With many jobs in care on offer, what makes Progress a great company to work for?

1.   We value the opinions of our staff

As an organisation that works for children and young adults, the quality of services we provide is vital to our existence – therefore our staff are our greatest asset.

Without their hard work and achievements, we wouldn’t benefit the number of lives we do.

At Progress, we encourage staff to voice their opinions, suggestions, and ideas. Working on the principle of ‘come to us with an idea, show us and demonstrate that it works’ we will do our very best to support its implementation.

Our staff value that their voices are heard. With any ideas implemented, we will always go above and beyond to ensure the staff member receives recognition.

2.   We continuously evaluate the way we do things

Every day we ask ourselves, ‘how can we be better?. We are always looking at the ways we assist and support our staff, our Foster Carers and our young people and seeing how we can improve on that.

Encouraging and developing young people in our care to be the best they can be is important to us. We have the same philosophy when it comes to our staff, and this is demonstrated through our continuous learning and development.

It is imperative that we work outside our roles across all our services collaboratively. We brainstorm and analyse all aspects of our services to ensure we provide opportunities for people in our care to grow.

3.   We embrace change and opportunity

In our opinion, ‘we’ve always done it that way’ is a dangerous way of thinking. We want to get better. Growing our teams, investing in people and analysing what we can do better for the young people in our care is important as it allows us continually adapt to changes.

We are passionate about everyone within our organisation getting involved in sharing duties and opportunities. From the CEO to the cooks in the residential homes, we all like to get stuck in. We have the attitude of, no job is too small for anyone to do. We believe that there is no hierarchy in a way that someone is more important than others. We all work together to serve the people in our care in the best way possible.

If you are looking for a change of employer or even a change of sector, take a look at our jobs page and see if we have the job for you.

From Senior Support Worker to Managing Director

Claire Rogers speaks from the heart about her role as Managing Director of Progress. She talks with passion about her values, her aims for the staff and the children.  “I give everything to what I do,” she says, “I love it.”

Claire moved into care from a career in retail, starting work at a school for children with special needs. At first she felt helpless in her new role and was in tears when she went home at night, but she learnt quickly. “I remember the first day I was able to sign to a young person,” she recalls. “He used to get really frustrated because he couldn’t make himself understood. When I understood him, the look on his face was just incredible. That was probably the turning point for me.”

In 2002 she applied for a Senior Support Worker role at Progress and quickly went on to be a Deputy Manager. She progressed through the company and became Managing Director in 2015. Her responsibilities include upholding the values of the company: care, trust, respect and progress.

“I don’t have to compromise my integrity in this organisation,” she says. “The values are right. For me it’s about doing the right thing. I enjoy giving my time and my energy to something that feels worthwhile. I value people. I enjoy seeing them grow and learn; being passionate about what they do.”

She continues, “I get the freedom to make decisions and make a difference. I’m trusted to do that. My drive to do new things and push the boundaries has helped the business to grow and my own career to develop. I always say to staff: if you have an idea, go for it, put the effort in and you will get the benefit.”

Claire’s aim is for the children to be the best version of themselves they can be and that is the same for the staff too. “Care work is not an easy job but it can be the most amazing job in the world” she says. “No two days are the same and it makes it interesting.”

It is important to her to maintain quality and she is involved in the day to day running of the business. “I like to know exactly what is going on,” she says.

She has a broad knowledge and experience and an oversight across the business. She loves nothing more than mapping out a child’s journey through the organisation, pulling the whole organisation together to work in an integrated way. “At the end of the day it’s about kids, it’s about care and it’s about making a difference to as many people as we can,” she says.

Claire describes her personality as loyal and honest. “I care intensely,” she says. “It makes me sad when I see somebody who needs help. If I can do something about it, I will.”

When one young girl died on her 21stbirthday, Claire spoke at her funeral. “She had such profound disabilities, she had every problem you could imagine and yet she always had a smile for you, no matter what was going on,” says Claire. “She could have been in real pain, but she always had a smile. She was tube fed and in a wheelchair but we took her to the Snow Dome and helped her to go down the slope in a giant rubber ring. There were lights and music and when it was time to go back into her wheelchair, she cried because she had loved it so much. She had a short life. She had a life limiting condition. But she had a life and I was able to make a difference to this and give her some experiences which enriched it. These are the things I remember.”

Are you inspired by Claire’s story? A career in care awaits you. Start your journey by clicking here to apply for a job at Progress today.


Working for Progress: Phil’s Story

“I can talk with passion about what I do because I fully believe in it” says Phil McDonald who is at the helm of The Hub, which helps children and young adults with disabilities to get the absolute most from life.

Phil started his working life at the tax office, but feeling unfulfilled, took a leap of faith to work in care and has never looked back since. He started in children’s services working alongside young people with autism and behavioural support needs.

In 2008 he joined Progress, initially as a senior support worker at Shire House.  He moved on to his first managerial role at Regis House, which was then providing short breaks. He was instrumental in the company’s further development of our Hub services, before becoming operations manager of the Hub in 2017.

His role includes involvement in recruitment days. “Quite often people have no professional experience, but they go on to make really good carers” he says. “I think it is important we offer people that stepping stone. Progress is a personal company, it’s not too big. You still know who people are and there’s always a new opportunity. If people fit within the value base and are motivated, they can relatively quickly climb the ladder.” He continued, “We are always willing to train people as relevant to their job role and to support their own personal development. As long as they are willing to engage with it, we are willing to support them to do it.”

Phil says his role is a massive challenge all of the time. “There is always something different happening” he says, which is why he enjoys it. He also likes the difference he can make. “There are people we’ve supported that I have known since they were tiny kids and now some of them are living on their own independently. Knowing that the services we have created for them, have supported them to do that, is a big thing for me.”

Phil explained, “The point I stop being passionate about what I do, is the point I know it’s time for me to not do it anymore. This role is not something you can do half-heartedly. It doesn’t finish at 5 o’clock.”

Outside of work Phil enjoys spending time with his three children. He likes reading and watching films. He describes his personality as ‘pretty relaxed’, adding “I’m not easily phased and I’m relatively flexible. I don’t mind working in crisis and I communicate well with people”.

Sometimes he misses the interaction with the young people now that his career has progressed.  “Sometimes people will come into the office to say hello and I spend a bit of time with them, having a chat. That was what I fell in love with in the beginning, that level of interaction and helping people.”

Highlights have included an ‘outstanding’ inspection when he was at Shire House. But he also points to more individual ‘victories.’ There was the little boy who came for short breaks when he was five years old. “He had a crop of bright red hair and he was like a little whirlwind, running around all over the place” says Phil. “You couldn’t let him out of your sight. We worked with him to settle him down.” He was placed with a foster family and Phil has been delighted to see his progress. At the last Progress summer barbeque, years after they first met, Phil watched him sitting quietly under a tree eating his packed lunch. It is moments like this, moments too numerous to mention, that make his job worthwhile.

How To Choose A Foster Agency

Deciding which foster agency to choose can be hard.

There are so many factors to consider. Charlotte is currently waiting to become a foster carer for Progress and spoke to us about the process she went through in deciding which foster agency to choose.

What is your day job?

I am an assistant headteacher in a mainstream secondary school, with responsibility for special educational needs and disability, known  as SEND, along with inclusion. My primary role is to help young people with the curriculum, putting in place the appropriate provision to meet their needs. 

How long have you thought about fostering? 

In the last two years, it’s been something I’ve seriously considered. But I’ve thought about fostering, on and off, for many years.

Why now?

It came from a conversation I had with friends who already foster. I did have some reservations, but they answered all my questions and gave me a rounded view of what life is really like as a foster carer. This really helped. So, I took a deep breath and contacted Progress.

Why choose a private fostering agency and not a local authority? 

It wasn’t a conscious choice to go with a private agency as opposed to a local authority. However, because of Progress’ experience, I knew I would be in a safe pair of hands.

So, you were recommended to Progress by an existing foster carer?

Yes. I have close friends who have experience of other agencies and now foster with Progress. They gave me positive feedack and recommended I get in touch. I trust their judgement that this agency is excellent.

How have you found the process with Progress? 

I was initially filled with trepidation because you do have an uneasy feeling of not knowing what you’re letting yourself for. I may work with children, but this process is way out of my comfort zone. However, the process so far has been positive.

From the first telephone conversation to the initial visit, references, checks, meeting my assessing social worker, ‘skills to foster’ training and now preparing for the panel, everything has been clear and transparent. Because I feel supported by the Progress fostering team, I now have the confidence to embark on this fostering journey with the help and advice of the team every step of the way. 

Inspired to become a foster carer? Click here to learn how you too can change a child’s life. If you would like to talk to us, email, and we will be happy to help.



Working for Progress: Adam’s story

It was 7am on a cold January morning in 2012 when Adam arrived for his first day as a support worker. He stepped inside what looked like any other house, to a new career and a new life. Within minutes he was answering questions from curious teenagers, finding his way amongst young people whizzing around in wheelchairs and others getting ready for their day.

Adam was working in a short breaks home, helping young people with a range of learning and physical disabilities.

He had worked with young people before and had been a sports coach. But this time he didn’t know what to expect. ‘It was a learning curve straight away,’ he recalls. He set to work helping the young people, preparing packed lunches and taking a couple of young people in wheelchairs to Sandwell Valley for a trip that afternoon.

That evening Adam didn’t know how long he would stay. But Adam is still with Progress now. ‘I enjoyed working with young people, building relationships with them and wanting to see them grow’ he says. ‘Seeing their progress makes it so rewarding. ’

Adam moved on to become a senior support worker, a coordinator then deputy manager in the Hub, before eventually moving into his current role within the Business Development team. Although his work now has more of a corporate and commercial focus, the purpose is still the same; ensuring the best outcomes for young people.

‘It has been quite a quick progression really,’ he says. Along the way he received ongoing training and has a Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care and a level 4 NVQ in Leadership and Management. He has completed a range of training; from safety and medication through to project management.

His career with Progress has had many special moments, like the day he took a teenager in a wheelchair to his first ever football match. The young man loved watching football on television and so Adam took him on a train to a West Bromwich Albion match. ‘He loved it,’ Adam recalls. ‘He still remembers it every time I see him now, years later.’

Then there was the summer he organised for 16 young people to go on holiday to the seaside. They went swimming and to theme parks. ‘All the young people loved their time away,’ he says.

He has been involved in setting up activity groups in the community, everything from arts and crafts to dance, drama and sport. He was also involved in starting a young club for older teenagers.

Adam, now 30, describes himself as a caring person who enjoys what he does. Outside of work he likes football and is a devoted dad who enjoys spending time with his family, including his young daughter.

His advice for anyone thinking about working for Progress is: ‘Come and try it even if you have never done this type of work before.  Give it a go. Meet our young people and you probably won’t want to leave.’

Would you like to work for Progress? Click here and apply through our website today



Supporting Young People

We want to be able to share with your the amazing things Progress carers experience in their job every day.

Mark is a Progress carer and has been supporting Jay for nearly three years.

This is his story:

Jay is very high on the spectrum of autism and has minimal vocabulary.

Despite this, Jay’s Mum really wanted her son to take part in activities that benefited not only him but also the wider community.

I did some research and found a program that was looking for volunteers to help maintain and preserve parks in the West Midlands.

It was with much anticipation that we arrived on the first day alongside the other volunteers. Jay was delighted to see so many people he was going to be part of a team with. Something was said on the first day that stayed with me.

The person running the program suggested that Jay being in the park alongside other people, may not work. However, he was willing to allow Jay to stick around. When you hear things like this, it saddens you. I knew that Jay would show that he is more than capable of participating despite all his disabilities – after all, we are all able by our abilities.

Volunteering brought out so much in Jay, it’s incredible. He’s making friends, working hard and giving back to the community, which is what he and his Mum wanted.

Sadly, it was during this period that his Dad passed away. Being such a strong person, Jay carried on working even though it must have been difficult for him. He also had the added pressure of this being the first year since he finished school.

The moral of the story is that nothing is impossible. Jay has achieved great things despite others saying he wouldn’t. Whenever I see him working, I always look on in amazement to what he has achieved.

I feel so proud to support Jay and have no doubt in my mind that he will carry on achieving a lot more throughout his adult life.

Working for Progress: Roma and Vicky’s story

Careers in Social Care

The memories of a day at Reading Festival still stay with Roma and hold a special place in her heart.  She had taken a teenager from Wellcroft House to the festival, and Roma could see the joy on her face as the young girl got out of her wheelchair and danced. ‘It was brilliant,’ she says. ‘She now goes every year.’

Wellcroft House provides residential services for young adults with learning disabilities and Roma Cantello has been a manager since 2015. She started there as a chef- she had studied catering at college and worked as a chef for 17 years.

Within months of arriving at Wellcroft House in 2009, she started getting involved with young people and going out on activities with them.

She gave up her job in the kitchen to become a support worker and she hasn’t looked back since. She went on to become a senior support worker, then deputy manager and finally the manager. ‘If it hadn’t been for Progress giving me that push I wouldn’t be where I am now. They always believed in me,’ she says. ‘I never thought in a million years that I would be where I am.’

At her side is Deputy Manager Vicky Turton. Vicky started at Wellcroft House as a support worker in 2010.

‘I think we work great as a team and we give the best we can,’ says Roma.

Roma and Vicky have received training while they have been with Progress. Both have Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care. And in 2018 they both stepped proudly onto the stage in their caps and gowns at their graduation after gaining a Level 5 diploma in care leadership and management for health and social care.

‘It was out of this world,’ says Vicky who was 48 when she graduated. ‘I have done more with this company than I have ever dreamed. I never thought at my age I would get anything like that.’

Vicky says she is passionate about her job. ‘’If you don’t care then it’s not a job you can come into,’ she says.

Wellcroft House in Wednesbury focuses on enabling greater independence for those with moderate to severe learning difficulties and complex disabilities.

‘I’m passionate about the young people getting what they need,’ says Vicky. ‘We are striving for their independence as much as we can. We are here to teach them new skills and get as much potential out of them as we can.’

She is also passionate about leading a good team.

Occasionally Roma still helps out with the cooking at Wellcroft House when she is needed. As well as running the home and supervising the staff she takes the young people out for activities.

She has built a special bond with them and Wellcroft House feels like her second home.

‘I just love what we do for our young people, I really do.’ she says.

‘We give them new experiences all the time.’

If you too would like to develop your skills and build a career in social care, please click here to apply for one of our roles today.