Children’s social care recruitment

Hargate Healthcare was established in 2022 by Judy Henderson and is leading the way in providing top-tier talent for vital roles within Children’s Social Care and Education. We caught up with Judy to talk about her recruitment journey and why she decided to start her own children’s social care recruitment business in partnership with SSG.

Welcome to my world!

I am a mother to two daughters and a Nanny to four grandchildren. One daughter lives near me with her 2 children (aged 8 and 2) and my other daughter emigrated to Canada in December 2022 with her 2 children (aged 8 and 6). My other baby is my dog who I rescued around 6 years ago. He’s a rottweiler cross and the biggest baby you ever saw. Last year I also set up a local friendship group which has been a lot of fun. We meet up once a month and organize days out together.  Hopefully we will have our first holiday together later this year.

Originally from the North East, I will always be a Geordie at heart, even though I lost my accent many years ago. It does come out on the odd occasion though which really confuses my friends lol.

Starting out in healthcare recruitment

I started my recruitment career 20 years ago as a bookings clerk in healthcare recruitment. My sector was in supplying temp staff to the NHS. Healthcare is where my passion lies, and I have provided temporary staffing and permanent staff to a variety of different services including NHS, Hospitals, Prisons, Nursing Homes, Supported Living and Children Services. From that very first role that I fell into, I worked my career up to Recruitment Consultant, Senior Recruitment Consultant, Manager (I was a Registered Manager at one point), and to Area Manager level in this sector.

I’ve had a couple of brief stints in other sectors, Industrial, Construction and Commercial. The most recent was in Construction, where I set up a new recruitment department for a trade based company run by an entrepreneur.

Hargate Healthcare

Hargate Healthcare was established in August 2022 and I am running the business on my own. The plan is to be hiring my first consultant by the end of this year. Based in Peterborough, the company was originally setup to cover the healthcare sector UK wide. I started to build the business targeting Children Social Care first then planning to move into adults etc at a later date. However, I loved this sector so much that I re-branded in 2023 and specialize only in children services now. Trying to cover the whole of the UK proved to be too big an area so I’ve had to scale back. The business now concentrates on the North West, East and West Midlands and East of England area. All levels of jobs on permanent contracts within the healthcare sector are covered within these geographical areas.

Overcoming setbacks

Running my own business had been my goal for many years. After a couple of false starts, my business has taken off on my third attempt. I wasn’t put off by the setbacks and saw them not as failures but as learning curves. Finance (or lack of it) was always an issue for me as it is only me at home responsible for mortgage, bills etc.

In 2021 I started working for an entrepreneur and received a very generous salary. This allowed me to put money aside to start my own company quite quickly. Working with an entrepreneur was great but when I wasn’t enjoying it any more, I handed my notice in with no other thought than to start my business.

I started reaching out to companies that could support me and the rest (as they say) is history 😊

Impressed with SSG

I reached out to 3 companies to support me with my business. SSG impressed me from the very first call I had with Ash Bennett. He was warm, friendly and made me feel that I would be very supported by SSG. I found Ash to be very informative and I understood the process very early on. Also, the package that SSG offered sat exactly with what I was looking for in terms of support and financials.

Onboarding was a smooth process. I had meetings with the heads of departments who I found to be friendly and helpful. The process was also quick, which was great. My vision for the company was very clear. All the content for my website and brochure came from me, the technical team then worked their magic to bring everything to life.

SSG advocate!

The help and support I have received from the SSG team has been top class, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. SSG supported me through a difficult time earlier this year and the Partner Support Team guided me through the issues I was having.

Aaron mentored me in the beginning which helped me to see things clearer and to find my own path again. Gareth then jumped in with TEAMS calls every 2 weeks. He was supportive and listened to my plans and reports on how the company was growing again. Whilst I still held a clear vision of where the company was going and was fully accountable for all decisions, I felt that having that regular contact with Gareth was the support that I needed to keep me focused.

SSG have bent over backwards to support me when I needed it the most and I can’t thank them enough.

Everyone I have spoken to or dealt with at SSG has been amazing. They have all made my journey so much more enjoyable and I would happily recommend them to other recruiters. 😊

Weathering the storm

The first 18 months were a little ‘hit and miss’, some months were ok and others not so much. Then everything took a dark turn at the end of 2023. From speaking to other partners, I understand it was one of the most difficult times in recruitment and I certainly wasn’t alone. However, I weathered the storm, and haven’t looked back. The business has seen a significant turnaround, and I feel that the business (and me) has really settled in now and will only continue to grow.

Lifestyle choice

The biggest thing for me is that I get to spend more time with my grandchildren. I take my grandson to school 3 days a week and spend more time with my 2-year-old granddaughter. It has also allowed me to spend time in Canada with my daughter and my other 2 grandchildren. The biggest challenge was the financial side of things during the first year, but I can now see the hard work paying off and the future is looking bright.

My experience of working alongside SSG has been a positive one. I have found everyone in the company to be friendly, reliable and supportive. Working with SSG has made me feel that I am part of something bigger and the support system they provide has made my ability as a director and my company flourish and grow. I highly recommend SSG!’

Advice for others?

My advice would be to know your sector inside out and have a clear vision of what you want your company to be and why. As recruiters, we have broad shoulders anyway but running your own business is not for the faint-hearted. Assume the worse possible scenario and consider how you would deal with it. Then reflect constantly on how you can improve!

SSG Partnerships exist to help recruiters launch and scale their businesses. If you are thinking of starting a recruitment business then give us a call to discuss your project and see if we can help you or download our Ultimate Recruitment Business Startup Guide.

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Hargate Healthcare recruitment

Judy Henderson – Owner at Hargate Healthcare