After 20 years of climbing the corporate ladder, Jane Cowell-Homewood made the life-changing decision to completely change careers in search of greater personal fulfilment. More than ten years later, Jane now spends her days at Hft, a national learning disabilities charity that supports people to live the best life possible.

The 65 year old initially trained as an accountant after leaving school at 17. After 20 years of success, Jane decided it was time for a change, saying she wanted to make money for a worthier cause.

Photo of Jane

Jane discovered the charity 12 years ago through an agency after being inspired by her recent social sciences degree, and says she settled in immediately. She’s since gone from strength to strength, working her way up to manager level before finding an opportunity to use both her previous and existing skill sets in a service administrator role.

Jane says:

“As soon as I started at Hft, no longer were two days ever the same. During my time as a support worker, I had the pleasure of making a difference to the lives of many adults. I supported one young lady who I immediately clicked with. We had a special relationship for seven years, and even built up our own way of communicating. She previously struggled with getting out and about, but we managed to build her confidence so that she was able to attend events and enjoy herself more independently.

“I now have the best of both worlds – I’m able to work with the people I’ve supported for 12 years, and get the opportunity to use my office knowledge too. Although the money is lower than what I was earning as an accountant, there was no moral satisfaction in my previous role. I’m here because I want to be.”

To anyone considering support work, Jane advises that you need to have patience, tenacity and a sense of fun. She says: “Being a support worker is definitely the career for you if you want to feel like you’ve achieved something at the end of the day.”

Hft recently launched its latest Sector Pulse Check report, which revealed that 85% of applicants cite wanting to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable people as a top reason for joining the social care sector. The research, carried out by independent consultancy Cebr, is the first of its kind to focus primarily on learning disability providers.

If you want to join dedicated staff members like Jane, visit www.hft.org.uk/findyourplace to find out more. Read the full Sector Pulse Check report at www.hft.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/research/

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About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,900 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance