Our people – A support worker’s journey

February 14, 2017

Throughout his career Paul has always been amongst people working as part of a team. In the past he had supported young care leavers, run a pub with a business partner and lead a team who delivered groceries to the public on behalf of a large supermarket chain.

Paul had moved swiftly and successfully from one job to another until he found himself needing to take time out to care for his terminally ill mother. Sadly Paul’s mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in February 2015. He cared for her, moving back home and taking leave from his employer until she passed away in October that same year.

Whilst caring for his mother Paul thought about his life, career and more importantly about what gave him meaning and purpose. He evaluated his strengths, considered past roles and reached the conclusion that the opportunity to care for others was what he would seek next.

Paul updated his CV and placed it with a number of agencies and online in various job portals. He quickly received emails from a number of sources inviting him to consider roles from across the care sector. Having reviewed quite a few opportunities already Paul was invited to consider a role with Consensus at Valley House. Like many potential candidates Paul reviewed our website learning more about our organisation and the service where the particular opportunity had become available. He felt that our values and the role were of interest to him, matching both his strengths and sense of purpose.

Paul applied and was invited to interview back in March 2016 and secured his role as support worker in April 2016.

The first few weeks were challenging for Paul. Within a new service which was itself setting up new processes and taking in new people needing support, he spent his first two months on a steep learning curve working with some of the most complex individuals he had ever met. There was a lot to learn and it was exhausting with so much to take in and apply on a daily basis. But not one to shy away from a challenge Paul continued learning and providing support whilst the support team changed and adapted meeting the needs of the individuals.

As the team and routines became more settled Paul was offered the opportunity to support one individual more closely. Andrew, the person he supports was possibly the most complex individual within the home at the time. Both Paul and the key worker began developing a revised support plan which would enable him to develop greater skills and afford opportunities to access the local community and a number of activities never offered before.

Having being given increasing autonomy in his role, Paul takes great pride in the fact that he has gone from being unaccepted by Andrew, to now accompanying him on bike rides, taking a pedalo on the local lake and regular health visits to unfamiliar places. It has taken a great deal of hard work, forming an in depth understanding of Andrew’s behaviours, needs and building trust and confidence.

In Paul own words; “I was given the encouragement to bring ideas to fruition and it has been amazing to watch the transition that Andrew has made. It’s all about trust and building confidence, it is a joy to see. My manager pushes me to develop and is hugely supportive of not just me but the whole team.”

Paul feels extremely proud that he now holds the role of Senior Support Worker and feels this is recognition for the hard work, dedication and commitment he has shown. He feels he is going from strength to strength and describes this as his dream job.

Paul stated; “What’s great here is the team, we know each other inside out, we have great teamwork and support. Of those that joined when I did as the service set up, over 85% are still here, which is amazing in this sector and speaks volumes for our team. It’s like a family here, but it comes from the top and is so obvious within Consensus. Even when James (Managing Director) visits he is just so approachable.”

When asked what makes his job so special Paul says; “Nine out of ten days I go home with a smile on my face. It’s the little things, it might be Andrew or another individual saying my name or even writing it. It could be getting out into the community enjoying an activity together or just making a valued contribution to the team.”