I enjoy working closely with the people we support. I can’t see myself wanting any other career.
My first experience of working in care was when I was just 16. A parent asked the college I was studying at if they could recommend someone to look after her disabled son and they put my name forward.
Later, I worked as a healthcare assistant at Bristol Royal Infirmary. Patients come and go when you’re working in a hospital and I started to miss the continuity and relationship-building of my job in care. I got a new job as a Support Worker for the Trust and now I can’t see myself wanting any other career.
I work in supported living for people with learning disabilities, which means that I’m helping to provide support for people in their own homes. They might need support around the clock or just a couple of hours each day.
I’ve supported Mike for seven years. Having this continuity of one-to-one support means that we have developed a great relationship and we actually have a good laugh together. I really value that I’m able to help Mike to do the things he wants to do and to maintain his relationships with his friends.
One of my proudest moments was helping to persuade Mike to use a wheelchair. Although his mobility had got worse, Mike was initially resistant to this idea, as he is proud of his independence and saw a wheelchair as a recognition that he was in decline. I showed Mike a video about wheelchairs and helped him to see it as a way of improving his quality of life and of lessening restrictions on what he can do. He’s accepted that now.
A few years ago, I was promoted to the role of Service Coordinator. This means that I manage other members of staff and organise rotas, but I still do hands-on work with people we support. At first, I was a bit nervous about managing a team, but my confidence has grown. I’ve been able to handle difficult conversations with staff that would have terrified me a few years ago.
I definitely recommend others to apply for a job at the Trust. The culture here is supportive and welcoming, and there are chances to progress your career, like I have. The thing I enjoy most is working closely with the people we support and helping to make a difference to their lives.