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“Extremely difficult – most rewarding”: a social care worker tells his story

woman with a job as social care worker with a service user

“There are aspects of the job which are extremely difficult, in terms of the hardships our clients face, but in other ways, it is really fun. I don’t think people realise how varied the job of a social care worker can be.”

Brodie Hird has been working at VSA, the social care charity in Aberdeen, since 2016. Having risen through the ranks from a support worker in numerous services throughout the organisation, he is now a team leader in its mental health services.

We caught up with Brodie to hear his take on a career in the social care sector, and why applying for a job at VSA was the best decision he ever made.

From training opportunities, to management support and true job satisfaction, read on to discover why a job at VSA could be the best next step for you.

What opportunities for self-development are there at VSA?

At VSA, employees are encouraged to develop their skills and abilities as much as possible, as that is the best way for them to help others.

“I’ve done a lot of training at VSA,” says Brodie, 28. “There’s a really good in house learning and development team here, offering courses on mental health awareness, dementia awareness, medication training, supervision skills training, and more.

“Since I became a team leader, I’ve done training on how to support other staff members, and I’ve also done my SVQ modern apprenticeship in health and social care.

“There are a lot of opportunities for self-development within the organisation, and employees can self-direct their training, and choose courses in which they think their personal skills and attributes lie.”

What does a day-in-the life of a social care worker look like?

As social care is so people focussed, and people’s emotions vary from day-to-day, thinking on your feet is a big part of the job, explains Brodie.

“My role within VSA is very varied, every day is different. You don’t know what you’re going to be doing or what you’ll be faced with on a daily basis.

“What we do each day depends on our service users and their needs at that time. We might have a plan in place that has to change at the last minute due to their requirements.”

As a team leader, Brodie manages a small group of people, but still works very closely with people with a range of physical and mental health requirements.

What might surprise people about the job of a social care worker?

When people think of social care, they likely think of it as providing physical support to people who require help with washing, shopping or generally taking care of themselves.

Brodie Hird - he has a job as a social care worker
Brodie Hird, team leader at VSA

But Brodie explains: “In actual fact, the job involves organising regular fun and fulfilling activities for vulnerable people to enrich their lives and remove them from the difficulties they may face on a daily basis.

“We arrange a lot of outings for our service users, including trips to Blair Drummond Safari Park, visits to a number of castles, and walks through some of the North East’s scenic parks.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in social care?

The most rewarding part of working with vulnerable people is also often the hardest part, explains Brodie: “When someone is facing a particularly difficult time in their life and I help them to overcome their issues, it is the best feeling, but it means you have to think about all the training you have had and put it into practice.

“We do have access to help from medical support and physiatrists, but they aren’t available 24/7 so we have to rely on our own first-aid training and mental health first aid training a lot of the time.

“It can be the most stressful aspect of the job but it is definitely the most rewarding. When you get a break through with a vulnerable person, and you can see their development over time, you just know what you’re doing is worthwhile.”

Apply for a job as social care worker at VSA

As an organisation which sets out to enrich the lives of vulnerable people in the community, VSA’s values are also reflected in the way it treats its staff.

Brodie explains: ““Every staff member has a personal supervisor who they have a planned, structured meeting with every three months.  This is where you can talk through your progress and put plans in place for your future development.

“VSA has a very open environment when it comes to sharing where you feel you are struggling or need support and, likewise, people are always forthcoming with tips and advice on how to cope or deal.

“There are so many opportunities to better yourself and grow in confidence, and of course you are changing the lives of so many other people every day… it is an amazing place to work.”

Come to the VSA recruitment fair

VSA are hosting a recruitment open day on Thursday 28 April from 10am-6pm at the Castle Street offices.

This is a great opportunity to find out what jobs are currently available within the organisation, and to speak to the people who are behind its success.

Discover which aspects of a role in social care would suit you and find out how you could get involved in changing the lives of vulnerable people in your community for the better.

Visit the VSA website for more information.

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