When did funeral directing become a career? Well, since time began, we’ve been caring for and burying our dead so it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment funeral directing became a profession. Fast forward to the 21st Century, and we saw funeral teams throughout the UK face up to a global pandemic delivering a service whilst mitigating incredible demands. They were exceedingly professional. So what makes someone choose funeral directing or working with the dead as a career?
The Funeral Director
Top hats, frock coats with tails, canes, shiny shoes – these are the guys and gals that we recognise as the funeral director on the day. But their role is so much more. Compared to a wedding planner, who has up to 2 years to plan a wedding, funeral directors project manage a funeral in 4-14 days.
First by meeting the family to learn more about the deceased and to help the family arrange an event that’s “just right” for them and their loved one. Then by making all the practical arrangements: booking clergy or celebrants, booking notices, online obituaries, ordering coffins, caskets, urns or tubes, hearses and limousines, service room, church or crematoria, printed or digital Orders of Service, music, flowers, performers, catering and anything else as a family may require.
Starting out as trainee funeral directors, there will be a training pathway that ultimately ensures our teams are fully qualified.
At the funeral, you’ll see our Funeral Operatives drive our limousines and hearses, they’ll carry in and take out the coffin, distribute printed Orders of Services and acknowledgment cards at the venue, oversee any collection boxes and set out the flowers, and it’s usually these guys who pop open umbrellas for families at a rainy graveside. They’re also the guys who join the funeral directors, in taking the deceased into our care 24/7, every day of the year. It’s not unusual for our funeral directors to have started in this role and we often recruit internally as a result.
Our branch administrators are the face of our company within the communities and towns that we serve. Often from the local area, these highly capable and incredibly professional individuals will welcome families to their branches. They will host arranging meetings, those with prepayment plan enquiries, take in the clothing or personal belongings for a loved one, or handover ashes after a funeral. They also oversee family viewings whether that’s a 2 minute pop in or an all-day vigil for large groups.
Compassion, strength, care and respect flow from these ladies as they welcome and reassure people at all stages of their loss. It’s no surprise that they’re often regarded as an informal coffee shop or counsellor as well as a good friend to many past clients.
In our head office, the four-man embalming team do this full time. Where a branch has a smaller team, embalming will be done by one of the funeral team. We operate to a strict code of quality care so our head embalmer ensures that no matter where you work, and how many treatments you do a year, that you follow a training programme. For some of the team, there is the BIE (British Institute of Embalming) accreditation to work towards, others already have this and provide tutoring to other teams.
Our staff come from a wide array of backgrounds. We look for those whose personalities and character are an evident fit: calm and focused, people orientated who care, with excellent attention to detail and highly organised. A tip from us: we look for people who will listen.
What we do is rewarding but it can also be tough. We know that behind every employee is a friend/family unit that occasionally shares that burden. And that working with those facing loss is a privilege for everyone in our company.
We’re driven by values of compassion, integrity, dedication and respect. So there’s nothing more rewarding than a family saying we made a real difference and helped them at a stressful time.
A career in the funeral sector is incredibly fulfilling. And as jobs go, it is one can highly recommend. Keep an eye on our vacancies page for opportunities to join our family.