"The best part of the job? Everything! I love it, I really do"

Learning Disabilities Support Worker

I want people to do this work because I enjoy it so much. The staff here are lovely. We can rely on each other and help each other out.

I’m a Support Worker at a learning disability service. These services are so important. They give people independence. We support people to do things for themselves.

I ask myself, “How would I want my brother to be treated?”

He has learning disabilities. When he was two or three he had epileptic fits which damaged his brain.

I really wanted to do this kind of work but I did hairdressing after school and I didn’t have the health and social care qualifications. Training can be expensive.

But then I saw that Southdown offered the training. I thought, “I can finally do this type of work that I’ve wanted to do for years!”

The training has been amazing. It’s really good. At the start you do loads – there are so many training courses. My favourite was the autism training – I loved it. It really opened my eyes.

All learning disability services are different. Most of the people in this service get full day support. There are five flats and an office/sleep-in room for staff. Each flat has a bedroom, bathroom, lounge, and kitchen. We try and get clients to feel like the flat is their flat instead of a communal house. The idea of it being their flat, their home, is for independence.

We support people with their morning routines, help make meals and go shopping together. We ask the person what they want to do that day, and some days that might be to go swimming, to the cinema, or to the beach. Each day I can work with a different client so there’s a lot of flexibility. It’s a fun job.

It was quite hard at first. I thought having my brother it would be fine but everyone’s so different. But I have developed good rapport with clients.

You’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to slow down, take a step back. That’s something I learnt. In hairdressing, you had to be on it all the time. So in the beginning I took a client to the park and I thought, “Should I be doing something?!”

You get to learn the triggers and what to say or not to say to each person. You also need friendliness and to have a positive outlook and share that with the clients. And it’s important to praise people for the tiniest things – cos that could be a huge step for them. So, if they’re making dinner, even if it’s just stirring the pot or cutting the veg, that’s a big thing for them.

I work 30 hours a week. It’s on a four week rolling rota so you can plan your life in advance. It’s quite flexible and all the staff are understanding. It’s nice to have days off in the week and sometimes I can have five days off in a row!

I want people to do this work because I enjoy it so much. The staff here are lovely. We can rely on each other and help each other out.

My manager has offered that I can do a Diploma qualification which is really exciting. This is definitely the work I want to stay in.

The best part of the job? Everything! I love it, I really do.

We have many employment opportunities we can offer to skilled, caring people who embrace our values. Please visit our Southdown Jobs page to see our current positions.

Southdown manages supported living services across Sussex. Supported living is where an individual owns or rents their own home and has control over the support they get and how they live their lives. Accommodation and support is provided separately. It can be very different for different people. For one person, supported living might be a few hours of support a week to enable them to live independently by themselves in a rented flat. For another it may be around the clock support in a shared house or self-contained flat.