Support worker Ric in a street dance class with the students that he helps.

Meet Ric, a Support worker at a community interest company in Exeter which supports young adults aged 19 to 25 with learning difficulties. He spent 10 years working in office jobs before studying drama at university, which inspired a career change to social care. Read more about his story below.

I had an epiphany and realised I could help people.

“10 years ago I was doing an office job, working the usual 9-5 hours and I wasn’t really enjoying it. After quitting my job, I went back into education, which led me to doing a degree in drama.

“In the final year of my degree, I was doing some work experience at a theatre school with young people of all ages and abilities, it was really rewarding to help them with their acting skills, confidence and self-esteem. I was at a stage in my life where I wanted a bit of stability and the teaching module opened my eyes to the different options available in education and social care. I think I had an epiphany in a way and realised I could really help people.

“When I graduated, I applied for teaching assistant jobs and was lucky enough to get a job as a Teaching Assistant in a special school before moving to the role I have now.”

The students brighten my day – they’re the reason I do this.

Ric works in a day centre for young people between 19 and 25 with learning disabilities, helping them gain the skills for more independent living.

“You’re helping people at a very important stage of their lives as young adults. We try to get our students to be as independent as possible through a variety of tasks and help prepare them as they go off into the world. As well as teach them life skills we also do fun activities like crafts and street dance. The students really brighten my day – they’re the reason I do this.”

I’m so glad I made the change.

“I found working in an office could be quite monotonous, but each day is different here – there is so much variety. One day you might be doing street dance and the next swimming or woodworking. I’m so glad I made the change.

“Working with young people is a challenging job, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s also a very rewarding job. If I can just make a person’s life just one per cent better by helping them learn the skills they need, then it’s all worth it.”

I feel really lucky that I enjoy what I do.

“When I see the students get involved in group activities running around, smiling and laughing, I feel pride, joy – I feel fantastic. I’ve been here for six years, and I feel lucky that I really enjoy what I do. I am proof that you can change careers and that you don’t always have to stick to one particular path in life.

” In the future I would like to do more work in the community as an enabler on a 1 to 1 basis – helping young people as they move on with their lives.”


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