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Mayfield & Framfield — East Sussex 01435 872 201 info@pjlhealthcare.co.uk

From trainee to trainer

I started out with career aspirations of becoming a teacher and started a teaching degree.  Life is not always straightforward and when I found the love of my life and got married, I decided that full time education was not going to work and I went to work on the family farm.  I also worked part-time in a community bookshop/café. Although I was enjoying it, the travel between jobs and lack of future prospects made me look for a ‘proper’ job. 

I found myself working at a funeral company as a chauffeur/bearer.  Although there were future prospects within the firm, it just wasn’t for me, so I decided that it would be better to go back to the family farm and carve out my career in agriculture.  I enrolled for a 3 year Farm Management course at Plumpton and was really enjoying it but after the first year it was cancelled!  I could have tried a different college or moved to a different course but I took it as a sign that this was not what I was meant to do with my life and started looking for another job. 

I still wanted to be in a teaching environment and felt that I wanted to work with people with disabilities so applied for some SEN Teaching Assistant roles and then I saw the advert for the PJL Recruitment evening.  I called to find out more and booked myself a place.  I arrived at the Recruitment Event not really knowing what it would entail.  After finding out more and staying for an interview, I was offered a job as a Support Worker.  It didn’t take much thinking about, the recruitment event had sparked something in me and I knew it was the job for me. 

I am a great one for believing that if you want something, you have to make it happen.  Timing is also something that I think plays a big part in life.  Being offered the job wasn’t good timing as we were expecting our second child in 3 weeks time!   PJL were accommodating and I started 2 weeks after my daughter was born.  Also, the day before my first shift, my son was admitted to hospital with croup and I was up all night.  I managed a couple of hours sleep before my shift, but I told my colleagues not to tell me anything too important as I wouldn’t remember!  They re-assured me, and I knew this was going to be a good place to work.

I really enjoyed working as a support worker.  Learning the ropes as someone with no care experience was really rewarding and the training that I received and support from colleagues was brilliant.  After passing probation I started as CD’s key worker.  Timing was good as it was just before his LAC review which meant that the new care plan was drawn up and I was there from the beginning.  It was great working as part of a small, settled team all working towards the same goal.  We all knew our roles within the house and we all worked hard but we had fun!  I passed my Level 3 Diploma and after 18 months as a Key Worker, I felt that it was time for a new challenge.

TT arrived and I started to work with him in Honeysuckle.  It was a fairly new team and I started to support not just TT but the team.  When the other young person in Honeysuckle, DB moved to Bluebell I moved with him, back to my old team with HD and CD.  Having DB move in really changed the dynamic of the house and it was time for CD to start his transition away from MCH.  I was heavily involved in CD’s transition and learned a lot from it.  I am pleased to say it was a successful process and the right move for CD. About a month later, I also managed AM’s assessment and move in. 

When the Team Leader, RB, left MCH to take up his new role as Deputy Manager for FCH I wasn’t sure if I should apply for Team Leader.  Taking over from him was the obvious next step really, I had gained some valuable experience and had been doing some of the Team Leader duties in his absence.  So, I applied and am pleased to say, I got the job!

Just after becoming Team Leader, I applied to be a Team Teach Instructor.  This appealed to my teaching side which had never truly gone away.  We were sent on a week’s training course in Milton Keynes which was interesting …. but that’s another story!  I enjoy being part of the Team Teach instructor group and have found the training to be very fulfilling.  In the current Covid-19 situation I also helped to design a bespoke, one day Team Teach course which myself and EC have been delivering.

Although the Team Leader role has been great and the Team Teach aspect gives great variety. I have always loved teaching/training others and when I saw the advert for an Assessor/Trainer for the PJL in-house training dept, I wondered if I should apply.  I spoke to some colleagues who encouraged me, and I put my application forward.  The Team Teach experience and qualification and the extra course planning and teaching during Covid-19 restrictions stood me in good stead.  Obviously, first-hand experience of PJL training, studying for my Level 3 Diploma and 4 years’ experience of the company, staff and young people was also helpful, and I was thrilled when I found out that my application had been successful.

So, is it timing? Being in the right place at the right time? Putting yourself forward for things or a combination of all these things?  I still don’t know!  All I know is that I start my new job on 22 December, a job which brings together all the things I have learned and love to do, in a Company I am proud to be part of.

My wife is a midwife and is off work over Christmas this year and so timing also means that this will be the first time for 10 years that my wife and I have a full Christmas break together with our 3 children which will be amazing!