"Working at Brandon Trust has done everything for my life – I feel proud to say I’m a support worker."
We caught up with Harriet who’s a support worker in one of our Gloucestershire locations to get an insight into her career and find out why joining Brandon Trust was 'the best decision' she’s ever made.
What were you doing before you joined Brandon Trust and what attracted you?
About four years ago, I was feeling completely stuck in limbo. I’d been on a temporary contract in a factory before I went off to have my baby but once she was born, there was no job for me to go back to.
I’d always been interested in support work, as I’d helped to look after my Mum when she was poorly, but I thought I needed qualifications to get in to it. I stumbled across an advert for Brandon Trust and went for the job; not long afterwards I was doing my training! It was the best decision I ever made.
What do you love most about being a support worker?
It doesn’t feel like a job to me. Before I joined Brandon Trust, I’d worked in a range of different roles – in phone shops, supermarkets, factories but none of it had ever been rewarding.
I’d always just felt like I was stuck in a box as another worker.
It’s so different at Brandon Trust, you’re making people’s lives better every day. You’re their friend, their comfort on a bad day, you’re supporting them to get the most out of their lives.
It’s not about competing with your colleagues or targets; everyone is working towards the same goal and wants the best for people. You get to be creative in your approach too and as you’re constantly challenging yourself and trying new things, it’s never dull!
Is there anything in particular that you’ve been really proud of as a support worker?
When I was in Wiltshire, I was a key worker for a young man. His mother was a little worried about his weight and he wanted to lose some so we started going to Weight Watchers classes together and once we had our goals set, we started going to the gym and exercising.
In the end he managed to lose three stone and he gained so much more confidence, he really came out of himself and opened up.
It’s building up good relationships with people that enables you to provide the best possible support. For example, back when I worked a group of boys with autism in Wiltshire, they hated housework so I’d say ‘I’ll do the polishing and you hoover’ to help break it down for them.
I did a beauty course when I was at college so I’ve also started doing little girly pamper nights for some of the residents, where I do their nails for them. It’s something nice for them to look forward to.
What’s the training and support you get at Brandon Trust like?
Brilliant. You get full training from the start and this is tailored to the residents you’ll be looking after.
If you’re supporting residents with epilepsy or autism, you’ll receive plenty of training on this so you get to know everything you need to know about the people you’ll be working with.
Brandon Trust gives you their full support with professional qualifications too – I’m currently working towards my Health and Social Care Diploma which is something I never thought I’d be able to do. There are real prospects here and lots of room to grow.
Some other employers don’t really support their people to move up and progress but at Brandon Trust, there’s a career ladder and they’ll encourage you to climb it.
People say support work is rewarding but what is it that makes it so rewarding for you?
Working at Brandon Trust has changed my life. Before I never really felt valued in my jobs or like I was going anywhere but doing something I love and something that benefits others so much is amazing.
I finally have confidence, I believe in myself and I’ve achieved more in the last four years than I ever did before.
In previous jobs, people would ask about work and because I wasn’t happy in my role, I’d hate having to talk about working in a shop or factory but now I feel so proud to talk about what I do, I feel proud to say 'I’m a support worker'.