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Climbing the care career ladder

Donna joined Brandon as a first-time support worker in 2016 and has since worked her way up to become a locality manager. She tells us about her journey over the last five years.

Before I joined Brandon, I’d been out of full-time work for quite a while as I was bringing up my children and trying to work around them.

I’ve got a 20-year-old son with autism and that made me want to work with people with a learning disability. I looked around for a company that would enable me to do that and Brandon stood out from the crowd, so I applied to be a support worker.

I’d never done a role like that before. Obviously, I had an idea of what I would want support for my son to look like if he needed it, but that was all. I didn’t have any previous experience or training in the care sector.  

I really enjoyed being a support worker but I wanted to be able to have more of an active input, so I completed all my mandatory training and progressed to team leader quite quickly.

I then did my Level 3 Diploma and was later put forward for the Level 5. I achieved that and I’m now a locality manager.

Support at every stage

I’ve always felt really well supported by my managers and the staff teams are very supportive of each other too. Ultimately, everyone who does this job is a caring person, so not only do they care about the people they’re supporting, they also care about their colleagues. You get a great support network.

Brandon really do care about your progression and as a support worker you build up something called a development portfolio. You get the opportunity to say how you want to develop in your role and your manager will support you with that. If you're struggling with anything, they'll see what can be done to improve things going forward. 

Brandon also offer bespoke training and learning opportunities, like the Leadership Development programme. They created it in response to feedback from staff who had progressed from support worker to team leader and wanted a bit more guidance through the transition.

I was already a team leader when I did the programme, but I found it really useful. It helped me to better understand some of my tasks and responsibilities, and I thought it was great that they’d listened and developed something that would really help people as they took the next step in their career. 

The joys of the job

I’ve loved every single role that I’ve had at Brandon. I feel like I've always had a new challenge or something new to be excited about. I think the job is what you make it – you'll get out what you put in.

Being a support worker wasn't what I expected. Obviously, things like personal care are a part of it, but you also get to spend time with amazing people, join a community, and be a massive part of someone's life. 

Even though it involves less direct support work, being a locality manager is a really rewarding role as well. I'm responsible for the quality of the care people receive, and that changes their lives every day. When I visit the places I manage, the people we support are always happy to see me and they'll ask me when we can go for coffee or if I can come to their birthday party. 

The things I'm most proud of are the things that we've helped people to achieve. You could be supporting someone to go surfing for the first time or to move to a more independent way of living. It always boils back down to them. 

Start your career in care

If you're keen to take on a new and meaningful challenge, a career in care could be just what you're looking for. We have support worker roles available in a wide range of settings and locations, and will provide full training when you join. 

To find out more about working with Brandon and take your first step towards a new career, head to our jobs section today.