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Cathy S

00:00:03 My name’s Cathy S. I'm a Funeral Home Manager from Keithleigh in West Yorkshire. I'm also a Funeral Director and Embalmer for Co-operative Funeralcare. My job as a Funeral Home Manager, that entails looking after four small funeral homes and the staff that work within it and also arranging and conducting funerals and embalming as well.

00:00:27 I enjoyed the more creative aspects at school. I enjoyed art and I enjoyed PE, you know, more practical things that I could get involved with rather than sort of maths and physics side of it, I wasn’t particularly good at that at all. I achieved three O levels and I got a bunch of GCSEs as well and I failed a couple of exams, particularly maths, that was one I failed.

00:00:51 So I left school at 15 'cos I'm a summer - my birthday is towards the end of the summer and I went to work for our local electricity board. They gave me the opportunity to go to college on a day release where I got a BTech in business studies and finance after a couple of years and then I continued to work for them for 15 years.

00:01:13 One thing that happened in my life that had an influence on me obviously was my son being born when I was 19 'cos that kind of dictated my 20s if you like. It dictated that I needed to stop within a job that I was in which, you know, luckily I worked for an employer that was study-aware. I needed to make sure that I was able to support myself and my son 'cos obviously we lived by ourselves in the community, and I guess at the time I didn’t see it as being difficult but now reflecting back where I am sort of 19 years, 18 years down the road, then I can see that it was important that I did that but never regretted doing that actually, but yeah that was a massive change in my life obviously.

00:02:00 I got into this industry by seeing an advert in a local newspaper. I’d been made redundant a few months before from the job I’d had from leaving school, and it was for a receptionist and administrator at a local funeral home near to where I lived. Now I’d decided when I was made redundant that I wanted to have something that inspired me and not particularly something that I did just because I needed money to support my family. So that’s the decision I made.

00:02:28 So I went along for the interview and liked the people that I spoke to very much and was offered the job as an administrator. It did mean quite a cut in pay to what I’d actually - because I’d been at my last company for quite a long time. But I decided it was worth taking the risk 'cos it was something that I was interested and intrigued in. Quite quickly I thought - as I saw the funeral directors and the other roles within the business, I thought gosh I could do this, you know, equally as better if not better than the people that are doing it in my opinion.

00:02:59 It wasn’t particularly a female environment, it was very male orientated so I really thought there was something that I could bring as a woman. But opportunities in this industry can be difficult to come across, but I was fortunate enough that somebody got promoted within another business and opportunity to move funeral homes and become a trainee funeral director came up, which I went for along with lots of other people from the business and got it. So that was good. So that was my first sort of step into funeral directing.

00:03:31 There’s one story that springs to mind and that was a story of an 11 month old boy that passed away from a sudden cot death and I’d wondered how I would feel about dealing with him and his family because it is unusual for children to die, it really is. And I was able to talk them through that process and give them choices and actually make that process easier for them to afterwards, after the funeral service, to get a lovely cuddle from them and a card afterwards to say that we'd really made a difference, just means everything. It means everything.

Cathy S

Cathy S My name’s Cathy S. I'm a Funeral Home Manager from Keithleigh in West Yorkshire. I'm also a Funeral Director and Embalmer for Co-operative Funeralcare. My job as a Funeral Home Manager, that entails looking after four small funeral homes and the staff that work within it and also arranging and conducting funerals and embalming as well. I enjoyed the more creative aspects at school. I enjoyed art and I enjoyed PE, you know, more practical things that I could get involved with rather than sort of maths and physics side of it, I wasn’t particularly good at that at all. I achieved three O levels and I got a bunch of GCSEs as well and I failed a couple of exams, particularly maths, that was one I failed. So I left school at 15 'cos I'm a summer - my birthday is towards the end of the summer and I went to work for our local electricity board. They gave me the opportunity to go to college on a day release where I got a BTech in business studies and finance after a couple of years and then I continued to work for them for 15 years. One thing that happened in my life that had an influence on me obviously was my son being born when I was 19 'cos that kind of dictated my 20s if you like. It dictated that I needed to stop within a job that I was in which, you know, luckily I worked for an employer that was study-aware. I needed to make sure that I was able to support myself and my son 'cos obviously we lived by ourselves in the community, and I guess at the time I didn’t see it as being difficult but now reflecting back where I am sort of 19 years, 18 years down the road, then I can see that it was important that I did that but never regretted doing that actually, but yeah that was a massive change in my life obviously. I got into this industry by seeing an advert in a local newspaper. I’d been made redundant a few months before from the job I’d had from leaving school, and it was for a receptionist and administrator at a local funeral home near to where I lived. Now I’d decided when I was made redundant that I wanted to have something that inspired me and not particularly something that I did just because I needed money to support my family. So that’s the decision I made. So I went along for the interview and liked the people that I spoke to very much and was offered the job as an administrator. It did mean quite a cut in pay to what I’d actually - because I’d been at my last company for quite a long time. But I decided it was worth taking the risk 'cos it was something that I was interested and intrigued in. Quite quickly I thought - as I saw the funeral directors and the other roles within the business, I thought gosh I could do this, you know, equally as better if not better than the people that are doing it in my opinion. It wasn’t particularly a female environment, it was very male orientated so I really thought there was something that I could bring as a woman. But opportunities in this industry can be difficult to come across, but I was fortunate enough that somebody got promoted within another business and opportunity to move funeral homes and become a trainee funeral director came up, which I went for along with lots of other people from the business and got it. So that was good. So that was my first sort of step into funeral directing. There’s one story that springs to mind and that was a story of an 11 month old boy that passed away from a sudden cot death and I’d wondered how I would feel about dealing with him and his family because it is unusual for children to die, it really is. And I was able to talk them through that process and give them choices and actually make that process easier for them to afterwards, after the funeral service, to get a lovely cuddle from them and a card afterwards to say that we'd really made a difference, just means everything. It means everything.

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Age at filming: 36-45, Employer's name: The Co-operative Funeralcare
Cathy S is a Funeral Home Manager for The Co-operative Funeralcare. She was intrigued by the industry when she first came for an interview, "It wasn't a particularly female environment, it was very male-orientated, so I really thought there was something I could bring as a woman."

More information about undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants

Check out 7 videos about this career


Average Salary
£27,560
Average Weekly Hours
41
Past Unemployment
YearUnemployed
20115%
20125%
Predicted Employment
Top 10 Industries
For This Job
IndustryJobs
Health 6,555
Education4,601
Social work 3,065
Residential care 2,195
Services to buildings485
Public admin. & defence408
Employment activities365
Sport & recreation218
Office admin.166
Veterinary 159
Employment Status
Description

Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants make funeral arrangements for clients, prepare the deceased for burial or cremation, and supervise and assist the proceedings of funerals.

Qualifications

There are no formal academic requirements although some employers require candidates to possess GCSEs/S grades. A full driving licence is often required. Training is provided on-the-job. Professional qualifications in funeral directing and embalming are available.

Tasks
  • Collects body of deceased and assists with the completion of necessary documents
  • Interviews relative or representative of the deceased to discuss preparations for funeral
  • Liaises with cemetery or crematorium authorities on behalf of client
  • Washes and injects body with sterilising fluid to prevent deterioration prior to funeral, and applies cosmetics, wax and other materials to restore normal appearance
  • Provides hearse and funeral cars and leads funeral procession
  • Controls the operations of crematoriums and cemeteries and processes legal documentation.
Employment by Region
Gender Balance
M 16% 84% F
Where to go next
The Co-Operative FuneralcareNational Association of Funeral DirectorsAn Overview of Information for the Public Administration Sector

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