From support work to medical school
Rhys is 19 years old and has been a bank support worker with Brandon for almost two years. Now studying medicine at university, he shares how working in care helped him to achieve his goal of going to medical school.
I started working for Brandon in March 2020, during the first lockdown, after I was made redundant from my job as a lifeguard. I have a few family members who've built careers in care and they suggested I give it a go when I was struggling to find work during the pandemic.
I started out at a small supported living service in Devon and then tried a few other places, before coming across a respite centre for young people with a learning disability where I worked for around 18 months.
Flexible and fulfilling work
Brandon has a wide range of settings that you can choose to work in, from supported living and nursing homes, to day centres, respite services and more. Being new to care work, this was great for me as it allowed me to figure out what environment I worked best in, and find a setting and type of support I really enjoyed.
Something else that attracted me to a support worker role with Brandon Trust was the option to join the bank team. This gave me complete control over when and how much I worked, and enabled me to balance the job and my A-Levels while still having a social life.
What I enjoy most about working in care is the strong bonds you build with both the people you support and your team. I think my favourite memory is from last summer when I went to the pub with a lad who I was supporting, where we sat in the sun and watched live music. There aren't many jobs that will pay you to spend the afternoon at the pub!
It also gives you a whole new perspective on the way other people live. I now want to push for a greater understanding of learning disabilities and break down the stigma around them. Whatever I do in the future, I'd like to continue helping people to overcome any barriers they may face and to live life in the best way possible.
Medical school success
In September this year, I started a degree in medicine at Queen's University in Belfast, and my job as a support worker was a big factor in being accepted to medical school.
One thing they ask for when you apply, is experience in care and healthcare, which can be hard to get especially when you're young. It really helped me to write my personal statement and was a great talking point in my university interviews.
I've gained loads of skills from support work, including communication, administering medication, and working with different behaviours and abilities. As part of your training when you first start you also have to complete the care certificate. This is a nationally recognised qualification that you can take with you for the rest of your career and allows you to work in any care setting.
Even though I'm now away at university, I'm still registered with Brandon and can pick up shifts when I'm home for the holidays. Working in care wasn't something I ever thought I'd do, but it's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made and I wouldn't be where I am now without it.
Find the right role for you
If you're passionate about helping others and looking for flexible and fulfilling work, we'd love to hear from you.
We have a wide variety of roles available, including casual, part-time and full-time positions. Head to our jobs section to learn more about working with us and find the right role for you.