Advice regarding Support Worker Role

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Advice regarding Support Worker Role

Postby natalie427 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:08 pm

Brief Background:
I am a recent Msc graduate in Forensic Psychology with aspirations to become a Forensic Psychologist in the future, I have volunteered at a mental health charity as a Peer Mentor and I am currently volunteering as an assistant psychologist within a childrens home with teenage boys with problematic sexual behaviours. I am currently pursuing a career which can provide me with relevant experience and be my 'first step' on the career ladder.


I have just received an offer for the role of a Support Worker with Priory group working with individuals with autism. If it adds anything to it, the home is roughly a 30 - 40 minute drive away.

However, I am a bit hesitant in accepting this role, primarily as the manager told me that she was concerned on how long I would reside in this role (as she knew my long-term goal was to become a psychologist) and she specifically asked me how long I was willing to stay. Stupidly, I answered 'a long-time', but really the answer is 'I don't know' - which looking back is the answer I should have given (I think in the interviewing environment and with my nerves I blurted out the first thing I thought instead of actually thinking about what to reply). I would not actively seek jobs but job opportunities can pop up out of nowhere. Also, as I have never been in a support worker role, what if I don't like it? (The role itself I believe I will love - the hours and X long shifts - perhaps may take their toll). The pay (as many of you will know) is not great and is a £4,000 annual drop from my previous job (office-based, nothing psychological), but I was hoping the experience and the fact this role is more relevant to my own interests would compensate. When I attended my interview I was impressed with the building (it was brand new and kitted out with all new equipment and furniture) and the staff were also new (only opened in September) and they gave me a good impression in that they wanted what was best for the service users.

I am just concerned that if an amazing job opportunity presented itself whilst I was in this role, I'd feel guilty and I am sure the manager would not be too pleased (but I'd hope she would be understanding). I totally understand why a high staff turnover is not great for this role as the service users will take a long time to adjust to each member of staff and by the time they have,that particular member of staff could be planning to move on. But, I also see why it is so high (poor pay, shift work, long shifts etc).

I have also another interview coming up (after passing the group interview) for a support worker role with Creative Support within a home a lot more local to myself and with the offer of full and part-time (debating doing part-time and filling my time with volunteering (Childline, Circles Support, Assistant Psychologist role), but with a lower pay (about 80p less an hour, but every little helps!).

My question is:

Would it be acceptable to accept this offer, even though the length of my time there would be difficult to say (despite my mistake of stating I'd be there a long-time)? What would you do in this position?

Additional questions:

    If anyone has any experience with Priory (or craegmoor - same group) or Creative Support, if they could share their thoughts that would be great. I am reading mixed opinions online.

    If there is any advice you could give me entering a support worker role, that would be appreciated.

    I believe this role will provide me with experience which will be valuable in pursing a career in Forensic Psychology later on in life. Do you agree?


Sorry for rambling on - I am in such a pickle. All advice will be appreciated.
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Re: Advice regarding Support Worker Role

Postby lingua_franca » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:31 pm

I've worked for Priory, but not Craegmoor. As in all health and social care services, there tends to be a high turnover of support workers, and I can see why they would want to try and minimise this if the new service is for people who may have significant difficulties in getting to know new people and coping with change. However, you are not obliged to remain in any post for a long time, no matter what you might have blurted out at interview - you have your notice period for a reason. And I have to say that while I see the importance of consistency and stability in staffing, no service is going to get as much of that as they'd like so long as the hours are long and unsocial and the pay is close to minimum wage. Realistically the manager should understand this.

Creative Support - hmm. I've never worked for them, but I've been with them as a service user. In the end I used my direct payments to hire a support worker myself rather than going through them, because I got the impression that they treated support workers quite badly. Mine were always stressed, and while they never complained about the company to me, from what I could see I thought they were managing some unreasonable expectations. I don't want to put you off, and as it's a big organisation, things might be different in other places. I'd go to the interview and see how you feel. If it's local, it may be much better for you - commuting on top of tiring shifts isn't much fun.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.
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Re: Advice regarding Support Worker Role

Postby natalie427 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:23 pm

lingua_franca wrote:I've worked for Priory, but not Craegmoor. As in all health and social care services, there tends to be a high turnover of support workers, and I can see why they would want to try and minimise this if the new service is for people who may have significant difficulties in getting to know new people and coping with change. However, you are not obliged to remain in any post for a long time, no matter what you might have blurted out at interview - you have your notice period for a reason. And I have to say that while I see the importance of consistency and stability in staffing, no service is going to get as much of that as they'd like so long as the hours are long and unsocial and the pay is close to minimum wage. Realistically the manager should understand this.

Creative Support - hmm. I've never worked for them, but I've been with them as a service user. In the end I used my direct payments to hire a support worker myself rather than going through them, because I got the impression that they treated support workers quite badly. Mine were always stressed, and while they never complained about the company to me, from what I could see I thought they were managing some unreasonable expectations. I don't want to put you off, and as it's a big organisation, things might be different in other places. I'd go to the interview and see how you feel. If it's local, it may be much better for you - commuting on top of tiring shifts isn't much fun.




Thank you for the reply! I had a feeling this role would have a high staff turnover and is something which management will try to reduce.

Would you feel this role is suitable for someone going into forensic psychology? As a first step I mean. It isn't a forensic setting nor a secure unit but I am hoping I can still gather experience which will be useful for my long term career goal.
natalie427
 
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Re: Advice regarding Support Worker Role

Postby lingua_franca » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:35 pm

I don't know anything about the career pathway for forensic psychology or what types of experience are looked on favourably, I'm afraid. I do have a friend/colleague who got a place on the Stage 1 Forensic MSc after working as a support worker in a secure CAMHS unit, and we both got jobs in that unit on the strength of previous care and support experience, so I would say that working for Craegmoor would at least put you in a position to apply for more closely related support work roles. You're likely to get good experience in responding to challenging behaviour, for example.

I don't know where you are in the country, but try contacting Mencap and asking them about the 'Raising your game' project they were running. It's a life skills project for people with learning disabilities or difficulties who are either involved with the criminal justice system already or who are at risk of becoming so. I think it's still going. If they have a project in your area, you might be able to volunteer with them.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.
lingua_franca
 
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Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Advice regarding Support Worker Role

Postby lakeland » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:40 pm

Have you looked at charities such as Lifeline? http://www.lifeline.org.uk/work-for-lifeline/ They work into prisons and may be suitable for what you want to do.
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