Jacky Smith admits it was daunting when she first started her career in care but thanks to the support and training on offer, her career has blossomed and she’s encouraging others to experience the same benefits that she has.
“Before I started in my caring career, I had been working for a charity before moving onto work in a restaurant. I saw a job advert for Sense Scotland. At that time, they were looking for Social Tutors to support people who were deafblind. This sounded really interesting to me, and after a long selection process I was offered the role of Social Tutor at the brand-new service in Melville Street in Glasgow.
“Over the years my role has changes a few times, there have been a few restructures but, 25 years on I am still here, working in the Partners in Communication project.
“After my first shadow shift I went home and told my husband I wasn’t going back. I thought the people who I was supporting, who were deafblind, deserved so much more than me. But I did go back, and did everything that I could to be the support that they deserved. I learned so much from my fantastic colleagues and the management team and training on offer, and from the deafblind people themselves.
“I attended every course and training that I could, on communication, on sensory impairment, on person-centred planning, just anything that I thought would improve my practice. I like to think that I know more now than I did then, but I am still driven by my belief that the people who we support, be they people who are deafblind or with other communication support needs deserve the best possible support.”
Jacky’s advice to people looking to apply for an adult social care position:
“I have always had the best colleagues through my time with Sense Scotland, and opportunities I never could have imagined. The organisation supported me to study for a Masters Degree in Deafblind Communication in 2014, and I feel immensely grateful for that support. But absolutely the best thing about working here is the people we support. I have been so privileged to get to share their lives, even in a small way and would encourage others to discover how rewarding the role is for themselves.”