It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone. But as a support worker, the rewards can be so much bigger than the challenges.
You’ll become part of a UK-wide network of autism specialists and gain an in-depth knowledge of autism. But most importantly, you’ll learn through real experiences and carve your own career in social care. Many of those who join us have previous knowledge of autism or support work. Our fantastic introduction programme and continuing learning and development opportunities help all of our stuff become autism experts.
There is a huge variety of roles on offer, from helping a student make the most of university life to working in one of our residential homes. Take a look at what's on offer to you.
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Kevin Phoenix, support worker at Victoria Road, Manchester
"I’m a support worker, but I'm a musician too. I know the difference music can make. That’s why I use it to help people on the autism spectrum communicate.
"I’ve seen so many breakthroughs. But one that stands out happened with a lad called Mark.
"He had a reputation as difficult to work with – closed, angry, uncommunicative. It felt like he’d given up on himself.
"I slowly introduced Mark to music – and he absolutely loved it! I’d written a song, Shine Your Light, and started playing it for him. I couldn’t believe it when he began singing with me.
You don’t do this for fame or fortune. But when I tell people about it, they always say “Wow!” It’s like telling them I’m a fireman!
Mark began to express himself through music. Before we knew it, we were performing at local events with two other autistic lads I was supporting.
"We played a concert one evening for other people who used the service, and their families. Mark’s psychiatrist came along. He knew how difficult he’d been. But when Mark performed, his jaw dropped. He never believed Mark would take up music, perform in front of people, and enjoy it. Mark’s achievement was also my single biggest achievement.
Joanne Byrnes, team leader at Wales Neath Service
"I started here as a bank worker and loved it. I wasn’t very confident back then, but over the years my confidence has grown so much that I’ve worked my way up to team leader.
I love that you can work with someone and give them more and more independence every day. You can transform people’s lives, like we did with Luke's.
"Luke came into the service from a residential school. He could do very little for himself – he needed a lot of support with going to the loo, brushing his teeth and getting dressed.
"He absolutely loved food, though! However, it was too dangerous for him to be in the kitchen, especially around other people.
"When he got his own flat, it was the perfect chance to help him get some independence. I wanted to find ways to channel his energy into positive progression. So knowing how much he loved food, I introduced him to baking.
"He absolutely loved it! He jumps up and down with joy when it’s cake-making time. We bake every day and he does everything himself – I’m just the sous chef!
"I get so much satisfaction from my job. I wake up in the mornings and can’t wait to go into work, and I always go home happy in the evenings.
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