Hft | Working at Hft | From sales to support work
Staff and service users at Focus Autism in Bradford, West Yorkshire. © Mike Pinches 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Newman and Hammad
Name: Newman Auty
Age: 33
Role: Support worker
Region: Bradford
Previous career: Sales

What did you do before you became a support worker?
Before working in health and social care, I worked as a trade sales rep for many years. After originally studying ICT at college, a career in health and social care was something I always wanted to pursue, but I didn’t feel confident enough, or like I had enough qualifications or experience.

What made you decide to become a support worker?
I considered a variety of career options after becoming uninspired by the daily grind of the sales sector and realising I was following the wrong path.

I wanted to do something that fundamentally made a difference. I looked at a few options, and saw a gentleman working for Hft in Bradford handing out flyers and inviting people to a job fair.

After attending the fair I was invited to interview and ended up getting the job. Within Hft I have achieved many qualifications, including my Health and Social Care Level 3 and Level 2 in autism. I’ve also had training on various things such as intensive interaction, principles of coaching and other courses bespoke to the people we support.

What’s a typical day like for you?
I work at a new bespoke service called Focus Autism. We build on life skills, ultimately aiming for local supported employment and work experience opportunities for the people we support.

The new service opened last August and I was part of the original transition team that worked within schools, creating personalised transition plans for some of the people we support, and acknowledging each person’s own sensory needs and requirements before entering the service.

My day usually begins opening up the coffee cart that we set up as an employment opportunity. A young man who I supported to transition from school called Hammad serves barista-style coffee to members of the public, helping to build on his work experiences and developing his life skills.

What have the highlights of your support work career been?
My favourite memory of being a support worker is transitioning Hammad from school into our day opportunities service. In school Hammad wasn’t in the right environment or setting and didn’t have one to one support. Since joining us, his independence and work, life and social skills have increased so much – I’m very proud of him and regularly share his continued progress with his mum and family. His mum was worried about what he would do after school and her mind was put at ease now that he’s had a smooth transition and continues to excel.

What do you like most about being a support worker?
It’s great to see the people we support achieving their own goals and getting opportunities to develop life and employment skills, as well as accessing opportunities they are passionate about. It really does feel rewarding to know that we’re making a difference, and helping the people we support to live more independent and fulfilled lives.

What qualities do you need to be a great support worker?
Patience, compassion and a kind, caring and empathetic nature. I firmly believe that regardless of what working background you come from, as long as you’re kind and want to make a positive difference in someone’s life, you can do it.

What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a support worker?
From my own perspective, it is a very rewarding career where you can make a huge difference to someone’s life. If you’re stuck doing a job you feel isn’t rewarding, try it! It just takes that first step and the confidence to take the leap and try something new. If it’s something you are passionate about you can make a difference.

How different is support work to your previous role?
Having a caring and empathetic nature meant that care came naturally to me but sales didn’t. Despite this, a lot of the skills I had developed from other roles tied into working in the health and social care sector.

I’ve found being a support worker to be much more rewarding than other career paths I’ve taken. I’m a natural people person which ties in well with being a support worker.

What are the biggest misconceptions about support work?
The biggest misconception I’ve found is that care work isn’t skilled work – there are a huge number of highly trained and skilled members of staff within our services. There are also opportunities to gain qualifications, knowledge and skills – all there to be accessed.

Find out more about becoming a support worker on our jobs page.