Jaid joined Look Ahead in 2021 as a support worker. He has now progressed to team leader at one of our Tower Hamlets learning disability services.
I first joined Look Ahead during the pandemic and I was studying for my health and social care degree and I spotted a poster up locally. It was a difficult time for everyone and I was eager help my community whilst gaining some experience too. I got in touch and the HR team helped me to start out as a volunteer at a mental health service in my local area.
The volunteering experience gave me the confidence to apply for a part-time job at Look Ahead’s Amy Garvey House Learning Disability Service in Kensington and Chelsea. I got the role and got to work! I supported my customers in a variety of ways, from working with them to find education, training, and employment opportunities, to attending appointments, completing forms and applications, booking holidays, taking part in activities and events, and engaging the wider community. I also really enjoyed supporting my customers to join in with therapeutic dance sessions at the service as well.
What I like about Look Ahead is the flexibility and variety. Just because you work in one specialism doesn’t mean you can’t get involved in others too as they appreciate transferable skills and experience. In my case I wanted to go full-time so as my role at Amy Garvey House was only part-time I was able to take up a second part-time role giving floating support at one of Look Ahead’s mental health services ILCS.
Two years on I’ve now been promoted to Team Leader at the Lester Court Learning Disability and Autism Service in Tower Hamlets. We have seven customers with a variety of higher acuity and complex needs, who we support to live more independently. I get to bring my whole self to work here. I come from a Bangladeshi background, just like some of my customers who speak Bengali as a first language. It’s great to be able to use my knowledge of Bengali to support them too, and we also get to celebrate our culture, faith, food and heritage together in some of the activities we do at the service.
I work with other departments to create suitable support plans, carry out risk assessments, do audit checks, manage the service’s finances, look after the building, and carry out spot checks and medication checks. I lead on handovers of keys and phones too, and ensure staff have the relevant information they need for the day.
I feel I’ve learnt so much since I started at Look Ahead. I’ve had supportive managers, and it was my last manager who encouraged me apply for a Team Leader position. The Learning and Development department are also really encouraging. They make sure we have the right training in place particularly to reflect new responsibilities.
My next goal is to learn more about other specialisms and to build my experience to become a contract manager one day.
I’d encourage anyone who likes working with people and wants to help others to become a support worker. There is lots of opportunity to learn and progress and no two days are ever the same, that’s for sure.