My Job: Explained (Support Worker)
Updated: Jun 30
Name: Bethany Leal
Job Title: Support Worker
Describe your role:
My role is to support vulnerable adults who have been diagnosed with Autism (usually non-verbal), learning difficulties and challenging behaviour. This includes helping them in all aspects of their life such as bathing, dressing, communicating needs and feeding. I work 12-hour shifts, and I am with them from the moment they wake up until they go to bed.
How long have you worked in the industry?
How did you get into this role/industry?
I applied online, I was researching how to get into my degree industry (psychology) without having practical experience and this job was recommended.
What's the best part of your job?
Honestly? Being paid for doing things such as going to the beach or the cinema. Obviously caring for these guys is great, and there are a lot of small moments that make the job really worthwhile, but because I am offering support and not full-time care they don’t need me all of the time and I spend a lot of time sitting and watching films or TV with them.
What's the hardest part of your job?
There’s a few. The barriers in communication is hard, being non-verbal they sometimes struggle with expressing how they feel/what they want and that can be a challenge. The challenging behaviour is not as bad as it seems, for example there is always a risk of being injured at work but we’re trained to handle it appropriately.
What skills would you say are necessary for this role?
You have to have patience, and be willing to accept that things don’t always go as planned. Maturity is important as well. Practical skills wise you don’t really need any, but emotional skills you have to be emotionally intelligent to some degree.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering this industry?
It’s not as easy as it seems. It's long hours and tedious, but it can be rewarding so stick with it. Also make sure it’s something you really want to do and enjoy, if you’re not enjoying what you do when you work in care it’s really obvious to staff and the people you’re looking after.
What surprised you most when taking on this role?
I was surprised by how much I enjoy it. I’ve never been interested in care before, especially the personal care side of things. But I actually really enjoy my job, probably a bit selfishly, it makes me feel better knowing I am helping someone with something they can’t do themselves.
Are there any things that you didn't expect to be doing that has been asked of you?
Because it was my first time in the job, I didn’t know what was expected to begin with. I think the job has a varying degree of responsibility which is very dependent on how much you want to be involved so no, nothing has been asked of me that I didn’t expect.
If you weren't in this job, what else would you want to be doing?
I mentioned that I wanted a job in psychology as it’s my degree. I have actually accepted an offer to become the assistant psychologist at the place I’m currently working at, so my plan to use this job in order to gain experience actually worked. So probably working in Psychology researching would be my ideal job.
The My Job series was created to help those unsure on the industry they want to go in, so this is an insight on the day to day life of different people in different industries. If you would like more details on working in this industry please drop me a message and I'll direct you to the interviewee! If you would like to get involved, please let me know.