Based in Edinburgh, Ciaran Hunter was working as a Manager in McDonalds when he experienced first-hand the damaging impact of poor mental health, when his friend and colleague took their own life. He led many mental health campaigns and charity events within McDonalds to raise awareness and funds for mental health charities, and this ultimately led Ciaran to start his career in adult social care. Since February 2022, he has been a support worker at withYOU in their Neurodiversity sector. .

“My journey into adult social care stemmed from personal experiences. Previously I worked as a Manager at McDonalds where my friend and colleague unfortunately took his own life in September 2018. Off the back of that, as a team we led mental health campaigns within the store and wider company. I took on the role of leading various charity events, from which we raised over £3,000 across different campaigns.

“This ignited my passion for mental health awareness, and I realised my biggest reward in life would be from helping other people.

“I formed a close relationship with the director of a local West Lothian charity who noticed my passion and put me through mental health training. Following this, I was offered an ambassador role for the charity as well as becoming an ambassador within McDonalds, helping colleagues who were struggling with their mental health.

“Losing my friend was a moment that changed my life, it made me discover what I wanted to do with my life and keep their memory alive. I am a firm believer that going through my own struggles has been the best thing to have happened to me as it has made me become the best version of myself and I’m able to support others now.

“Initially I wanted to work in mental health support, but I ended up being offered a job within an autism sector which I found daunting as I had no experience in this field. However, nearly two years on, I have never looked back as I have learnt a lot, faced many challenges, and has helped pave the way into adult social care.

“My favourite thing about this role is the fulfilment I get from helping people. Our aim is to support people to help them live independently as best as they can which we strive to do every day. There is great satisfaction seeing people achieving their daily life goals which you have actively played a role in making happen.

“A job in adult social care is the type of job where you have to love it and have a passion for it, as it can be challenging, and everyone is different so learning to adapt is important.

“When it comes to training, I found on the job training to be the most effective. I had zero experience, so when I first started there was a lot to learn. I would recommend to people who are thinking about exploring this sector to read the materials on the website – this is a great source of information and place to start.

“The type of person that should work in adult social care is someone that has a passion for helping people and would find reward in it. You need be determined and strive every day to help people. It isn’t just a job; it is a huge responsibility as you are helping people live their lives, which means you need to be on your A game all the time.

“There has always been an agenda around a career in care that ‘it’s a women’s job’, but it is not, and the industry needs more diversity. Since I joined, I have seen more men join the team, which is great, however, I think the barrier could break down even more to make it more of an even split.

““If you want to push yourself and challenge yourself a career in adult social care is the answer. It allows you to open your eyes and see things in a different perspective, making you grateful for everything you have in life.”

Ciaran’s advice to people looking to apply for an adult social care position:

“Just go with the ride and enjoy it! If you are thinking about a career in adult social care but don’t know if it will be for you, give it a try as you might be surprised. I thought I would never be able to be a Support Worker and wasn’t educated on the job role, but after taking the chance I have never looked back.

“I wish I had done it sooner and taken the leap earlier. If I had taken the opportunity to give it a go a few years ago, I would be further ahead of where I am just now. However, I firmly believe that we are in the right place at the right time, and I am enjoying the journey so far.