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A job for the boys


(l/r) Ethan with fellow support worker Oliver and Kai

Effective support services have to be built around the needs of the person, so having the right staff is essential, and this can sometimes require specific gender balance.

Skills for Care figures show that women made up 82% of the adult social care workforce in 2018. While Avenues runs services that are female only, 63 per cent of our service users are male, and in many cases they benefit from being supported by other men rather than women.

Debbie Taylor (below right) manages Avenues services in Tonbridge, and believes many men are missing out on a great career, because of misconceptions about the requirements of the work.

She said: “I think people sometimes have mixed up ideas about support work and confuse it with nursing care, and the two are very different. 

“While women may tend to be attracted to nursing and ‘care work’ more than men, and men can make great nurses and carers, the community support roles we offer are very different.

“We’re not running nursing homes, we’re going into people’s own houses and giving them the bit of help they need to live the life they want to. 

“Along with their autism or learning disability, the people we support are incredible individuals, all with unique skills, personalities and personal goals, and working with them is massively rewarding.

 “Our services are orientated towards supporting people to be out and about, being active and pursuing what they enjoy. Things like getting out on their bikes, doing some DIY or gardening or going bowling. Of course if they want to stay in and have a quiet day, that’s their choice.

"But supporting them is a fundamentally active job; one which our current team of men love, and we know there will be other fellas out there who would make great support workers.”

 
               

Support worker Kai explained: “I came into social care straight from school, and have never considered doing anything else. It’s an amazing job where you’re out and about, supporting people to do what they want to do. You’re really connected to everyday life and the community you’re working in – I can’t imagine working in an office all day, or the repetitive work that so many other careers involve. It’s a role that young people should know more about - social care needs them. I’d certainly encourage anyone searching for a career that makes a difference to seriously think about support work.”

Colleague Ethan added: “I wanted something with flexibility and found out about support work with Avenues. That was back when it was called Kelsey Care, more than 25 years ago! I love working with people and although it might sound clichéd, I do feel so lucky to have a career where I can make a real difference to someone else’s life every day. There’s a great team culture at Avenues and that’s so important for the people we’re supporting.”

To talk about career opportunities with Avenues, call us on 0203 535 0509 to find out more about support opportunities in your area, visit: https://www.avenuesgroup.org.uk/careers