Staff Profile – Jess, Support Worker
Jess joined Creative Support in 2004 as Senior Café Coordinator for the Cyber Café in Manchester. At that time she was the only full-time and regular member of staff in the café, which provided a fairly basic menu. Over the next 4 years Jess enjoyed building up the service by expanding the menu, providing specials such as home-made soups, chilli, vegetarian lasagne; improving the food displays and presentation, establishing a regular cafe team and ensuring that all service users and visitors were welcomed with a smile and made to feel comfortable. As Jess got to know the service users, they would also ask for her advice and assistance, which she willingly provided as best she could.
Last year, after nearly 20 years in the catering industry, Jess decided that she needed a change. She was thinking of leaving and spoke to her manager, who suggested that she apply for the position of Support Worker in the Breakthrough service as she was already involved, knew the service users and had shown herself to have the essential personal characteristics. Jess applied and was successful.
When she took on the role Jess attended training to ensure she had the right skills and knowledge to provide the support needed. She completed the Mental Health Induction, Learning Disability Induction, LDQ (Learning Disability Qualification) and is currently doing her NVQ II. She has also completed a number of in-house courses such as First Aid.
As a Breakthrough Support Worker, Jess meets and greets new members introducing them to the activities and sessions that are available and delivering the Health and Safety induction; she provides practical assistance to all the Breakthrough members, such as completing forms and accessing the internet; assists in the art sessions and provides cover in other sessions, such as cookery, creative writing and drama; and participates in the evening sessions and day trips. Jess also provides emotional support when needed and, if appropriate, feeds back to the service user’s regular support team to ensure service user is provided with the care and support they need.
Jess has ambition for personal development, but does not yet know what direction that will take and feels it will depend on how the service itself progresses and develops. She enjoys having direct contact with the service users, so whatever she does, she would like to keep that. The first step, when she has completed her NVQ II, is to start on the NVQ III.
‘Creative Support encourages people to develop their skills and knowledge and keep up with changes in policy and practice. To do this they provide a lot of training that we can access. The training is provided by a well qualified and experienced team.’
Jess feels that she is 100% supported by her manager and that this role has filled a gap that existed in the service before. She feels the team is now stronger; everyone gets on well and works well together.
‘Creative Support is a good place to work. It is not always about how much you earn, it’s also about job satisfaction and you get that here. […] There are a lot of experienced people here, who are all working for the service users, it’s not just a job, it is the service users that matter and it is important that they are the focus and are supported as individuals.’