A Day in the Life of an Apprentice Funeral Director
Wanting to work as a funeral director might be considered an unusual choice for a young mother, but for Kerry Turner, it was exactly what she’d always wanted. After completing her A Levels and working in a care home for the elderly for a few years, Kerry took a year out to have her daughter. During her maternity break, Kerry started to think again about a career as a funeral director and looked into gaining an apprenticeship.
A Brave First StepKerry explained, “I knew there was a funeral directors on my local high street and I’d always wanted to go in there and talk to them about possible training opportunities, but I’d always been too nervous. Once I’d decided I wanted to go back to work, I gained the confidence to go in. I needn’t have been worried! They were such nice people, even though they were a little surprised that I was interested in working there.”
Kerry explained that she had always been interested in the work of a funeral director and told them a little more about her background working in care homes. After a couple of interviews with the owners, she was offered a part time trainee position.
She continued, “They don’t actually call apprenticeships in funeral homes apprenticeships, they call them traineeships, but it amounts to the same thing. They offered me two days a week for a year, going full time as a junior after that if everyone is happy with my progress. Although it doesn’t pay a huge amount, it’s enough to cover my childcare with a little left over and I know I’m doing something really positive for my future and my daughter’s future.”
No Average DayKerry was quick to point out that there is no average day in the life of a funeral director, but that part of the appeal is that no two days are the same.
She explained, “Many of the skills I gained in working at the care home have been useful, because it’s important to be able to talk to people in a friendly, caring yet professional manner. I also thoroughly believe that jobs like this don’t suit everyone – you have to be able to empathise, be honest and yet make people feel like they’re in good hands. I carefully watch the directors so that I can learn their professional strong yet caring manner. After all, people only come to us at the most difficult times in their lives, so it is imperative that we make that experience as appropriate as possible.”
Hard to Switch OffWith much of her day spent talking to people on the telephone or face to face at the funeral director’s office, Kerry commented that it can be hard to switch off when she gets home.
“I cannot become hardened to the world of death or I’d not be able to be empathetic and caring, but I still have to stay strong so that I can offer comfort to the people. The directors have shown me how to spend a little time at the end of the day to prepare myself for my ‘real life’ and I’ve found that very helpful. I am sure that I will continue to work here after my year is up because I find the work challenging and very rewarding. And it’s a recession-proof business, which is a bonus!”