My Life currently employs over 150 staff, all with the same belief – if we all give a little, we all gain and grow together. Here are their stories of the difference they’ve made
Anne Marie, PA, East Lancashire
Anne-Marie has been a PA for a young man with complex support needs in East Lancashire for over two years now. Because members of her family also have some additional needs, she came into My Life Support with direct, lived experience of how support works – and also a strong belief in the person-centred care central to My Life’s ethos.
That’s one of the reasons Anne-Marie says her current role is one of the most rewarding jobs of her entire career – everyone has been able to see the difference the My Life Support team is making to the life of an intelligent young man whose needs are finally being met.
In fact, My Life Support’s flexible and accommodating approach to staffing has allowed Anne-Marie to feel comfortable that she can work, confident that her own family’s needs are also being met.
Ann Marie tells us why she feels becoming a PA on one of My Life’s teams has been a great fit both for her and My Life Support.
“I’ve been aware of the work My Life does and the people they support for a long time, mainly because members of my family have support needs; I’ve got a big interest in autism and how people can be treated fairly after getting that diagnosis, so I really believe in My Life’s ethos of person-centred thinking and support.
Many years ago I did a degree in special needs and I learned a lot through the experiences of my family. So when the Personal Assistant position was available on one of care packages within My Life Support, it felt like a good opportunity.
I would always say to people that not having the exact skills or training isn’t a barrier to working for My Life Support; it’s about both you and the organisation feeling that you’re the right kind of person to do these really important, rewarding roles. Then you can build in the specific skillsets.
Doing a job like this makes you realise the skills you already have and how you can develop them. What’s great about My Life Support is the training and support you receive. Obviously in a role like this there’s an element of learning on the job as everyone you support is different, but you also get specific training based on the needs of the individual. I’ve got a really wide range of skills now.
What you notice on My Life Support teams is that everyone really cares for the people they support, and they definitely have the best interests of that person at the heart of what they do. That not only means people get better quality care, but also that the teams are really good to be a part of. You work together to ensure you get the best outcomes for people – and even when it is hard, you have support from your colleagues and managers.
Of course there are challenges when you are supporting someone who may have complex needs. You have to be patient, and sometimes you might have to be assertive that a specific way of providing support has to be seen though. That confidence in your decision making comes with experience and training.
But overall, you can build up such a strong relationship with the person you’re supporting. You like them as people, it’s possible to have fun with them, enjoy your days with them.
I can see the difference I’ve made to a life, basically. And at the same time, I’ve now got ambitions for myself and my career that I never thought I would have.
There are vacanices for PAs on Anne-Marie’s team in East Lancashire. If you’d like to join her, contact us today.
Debbie, Peri Team Manager
Debbie came to My Life from a career in education with a real sense that she wanted to give something back and share her life experience. After an inspiring session at My Life’s pioneering job-matching programme Pathways to Employment, she began as a PA on a care package in 2017.
Gradually building experience and skills since, Debbie joined My Life’s Peripatetic (Peri) team in 2021. We believe our Peri Team to be unique in the care sector, a group of highly skilled people who not only cover care shifts where necessary but also provide a supplementary quality assurance and training role – part of our commitment to providing the highest quality care.
Debbie is now Peri Team Manager – and a perfect example of what joining the Peri team could mean for your career in care as well as your sense of what a fulfilling job might be. Here’s her story…
“After working in a school for a long time in various roles, I needed a change – and it was going to one of My Life’s events which made me realise that My Life could give me the chance to give something back to my community, share my life experience and offer me a more fulfilling career. My children had grown up and left home; it just seemed like the right time.
My Life’s Pathways to Employment programme was really inspiring in that way and I would really recommend it to anyone who feels a bit like I did – what’s really important is that My Life doesn’t initially require you to have experience of care, it’s about having experience of life. I just had that dynamism, stamina and a desire to be involved with people, doing something different.
So I shadowed on a package of care, and because it was a well established team, I learned on the job and then got the training I needed on the clinical side. I loved my time on that package, I formed some great relationships with the family and the other team members and it was really rewarding.
Having built up all those care and clinical skills and the confidence to use them, I moved to the peri team, going into care packages where they needed help and also offering training and quality assurance support. It’s a great role, really flexible, and it suits people who like variety, can multi-task and enjoy putting their training into use; it’s great to be able to feel like you’re using the skills you’ve learned, and being resilient and empathetic enough to adapt them to what could be a completely different scenario each day.
And it is the small things you can do – like giving family members some respite – which make a huge difference.
I’m a classic example of someone who has used those skills, training and confidence not only to improve the lives of people who need support but also my own career. I’m now a Peri Team Manager, overseeing people who have been on the same journey as me, making sure they’re well supported, properly trained and sufficiently skilled – and I look after some smaller packages of care too.
Working in the Peri team at My Life, you’ll have plenty of interaction with other staff members, experience a great team ethic and be involved in the wider community. We’re really focused on a good work-life balance. And most of all, you really do get top-notch clinical training, given you may have to cover literally any scenario occurring within My Life.
Bring all of that together, and I think that’s why so many of our staff have thrived with us – some have gone on to concentrate on one package of care, some have become team leaders, some have left the organisation to pursue their care career goals at higher levels. At My Life, you’re equipped to do a job where you make a difference – which is all I ever wanted.
If you’d like to find out more about joining Debbie’s Peri Team at My Life, contact us today.
“It’s rewarding to feel like you’re making a difference in people’s lives. I work as part of a caring and friendly staff team, with person centred training offered regularly throughout the year.”
Amie Thompson, Personal Assistant, My Life Support
“My Life has such a positive atmosphere – there’s nothing better than doing a job where you can really see people grow in so many ways. For me too, I’m really enjoying supporting people with all the different activities, learning new skills and passing them on.”
Olumide Obajinmi, Support Worker, Day Opportunities
“You can’t beat the buzz you get from working with all our members and students. I love sharing my skills with them, making it fun and helping them develop. There is great banter here at My Life and a real sense of equality. The most important thing to me is making sure that everyone enjoys themselves.”
Lincoln Yates, Forest School, Workshop and Bush Craft Facilitator