Support work alternatives

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Support work alternatives

Post by weaktea » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:18 pm

As a physically disabled individual, I am currently completing my undergraduate degree and have been looking into what jobs to take while completing the last year of my degree and/or after graduation.

I have seen plenty of people on this forum take support worker jobs to start out their careers, that it provides lots of experience working with relevant populations (also useful as it provides opportunities to work as bank staff, allowing for more flexibility around a degree.)

To my understanding, some of the tasks undertaken require physical ability, some of which I won’t be able to do. (such as personal care and some cleaning tasks)

I was wondering if anyone has advice / experience to do with this; for example if my understanding of the role is incorrect, or if there’s a way the support worker role can be tailored to my own abilities.

Also, if I was not able to work as a support worker, what are some similar, valued jobs which will allow me to gain similar experience during and/or after my degree?

Many Thanks :)

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Re: Support work alternatives

Post by rebeccaroisin » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:27 am

If you're interested in working with children, one alternative could be working as a teaching assistant. Either in a mainstream school or in a more specialist school.

I'm a HCA in a low-secure CAMHS inpatient ward and there's an on-site school that employees both teachers and teaching assistants. You use lots of the same skills for that job as for a HCA or assistant psychologist position: building relationships with the young people, encouraging them to take part in lessons, being able to calm and reassure people when they feel anxious or distressed, etc. If you are going to be working in a secure setting you might still need to complete Breakaway-style training (how to respond if you are attacked by someone), but I don't think that's the case in a mainstream school.

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Re: Support work alternatives

Post by lingua_franca » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:26 pm

I was going to suggest working in an educational setting as well.

There is a wheelchair-using clinical psychologist on this forum who has mentioned working in a secure hospital, so she'd be best placed to advise on how feasible hospital work would be, but I don't think it necessarily would be the case that you'd have to have breakaway/PMVA training as a teaching assistant in CAMHS. I know of a physically disabled AP who uses a wheelchair and who is working in an inpatient service, and she was exempted from that training. Of course all these things have to be risk assessed on an individual basis, but reasonable adjustments can be made in line with the Equality Act.

Have you also thought about helpline volunteering while you're at uni? Samaritans and Childline offer good training and experience.
"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.
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Re: Support work alternatives

Post by Samays » Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:13 pm


I know of people who went into advocacy straight from undergrad and went onto AP roles.

I don't really know of anyone doing this but I imagine being a community care officer in a social care team would give you experience of working in vulnerable populations, managing risk and dealing with safeguarding issues (this could potentially also be the case in educational settings mentioned above). In my county there is a dire situation in social care and they are desperate for CCOs!

I thought this thread was interesting and could inform the direction you take? - viewtopic.php?f=32&t=21775

Hope that helps a little. Good luck :)

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Re: Support work alternatives

Post by maven » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:58 pm

There might also be organisations where support worker roles are suitable, or where reasonable adaptations would make them so. It might be worth applying for a few and then asking.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

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