Earlier this month, we caught up with one of our staff, Sharon McNube, who joined Nua in May 2019.
Sharon initially joined us as an Assistant Support Worker and was thereafter promoted to Deputy Team Leader. Today Sharon is the Team Leader in Rathdearg. During our discussion with Sharon, she shared an interesting life story from before she moved to Ireland. Below is her story.
I am originally from South Africa - and although the weather there is great - it can be very hot during the summer with temperatures rising above 40°C.
Based on my own experience, the education system in South Africa is similar to Ireland, with 7 years spent at primary level and 5 years at secondary level, (both one year less than the Irish system). We don’t start school until the age of 6. However, and unlike Ireland, you must pay for schooling in South Africa. As a country, South Africa has 11 official recognised languages. English is our first language, but we also speak in our provincial language too. South Africa doesn’t have a national sport like Ireland has it's hurling, but the main sport is Rugby Union and we also play AFL (Australian rules football).
I arrived in Ireland in 2015 as my husband was here already. I later brought our child over. In Ireland, we went on to have two more children, both of whom are now Irish citizens. We came to Ireland because we felt the economy wasn't strong in South Africa and we wanted to explore greener pastures and ultimately, have a better quality of life. I was working as a Social Worker before I left. So when I arrived into Ireland, I secured a job as a Healthcare Assistant but I found there were no real opportunities for career progression in that role, and so I moved to Nua Healthcare.
I officially started with Nua in May 2019, and needless to say, I have not looked back since! Working in Nua came as a blessing for me and my family. A member of my family was recently diagnosed with a Specific Learning Disability, and another member of my family has ASD and Global Developmental Delay. It is through working with Nua that I have been able to identify and support them with their diagnoses. Nua has helped steer me in the right direction.
Aside from my family background, I always wanted a career in Social Care. Before I came to Ireland, I lost my 24-year-old sister and that was a very traumatic time for myself and my family. It was a real eye-opener. I feel that this supported my thoughts around wanting to help others to help themselves, so Social Care was the right job for me.
I love my role in Nua and what we do for our Service Users. It was of course difficult during the pandemic from time to time, but we have all been going through it together. Nua offers great opportunities to develop and progress. I also feel that Nua cares about it’s employees, their wellbeing and mental health. They offer the EAP programme which is also really good.
I think when you move from another country, its importnt to keep some of your culture. I like to keep foods traditional, but my children sadly don't really like them as they have become so used to Irish foods now! There was a time when I would cook South African dishes 2 to 3 times per week - but not anymore! As a family, we have immersed ourselves in the Irish community, particularly as our children are going to school here. We also still recognise and celebrate our National Heritage Day on 24th September and make the most of it by dressing in traditional clothing. Another big celebration in South Africa has always been New Year's Eve, so we enjoy making the most of that day too in Ireland.
When I'm not doing all of this and working, I enjoy going to the gym and walking. I also recently took part in a '10,000 steps per day challenge'. I like to keep busy!
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Sharon. It is always interesting to read about our colleague's varied life journey's.