Bryony Hagley

I knew nothing about the care sector, but I left retail because I had so much care and compassion to give but nowhere to apply it.

Growing up in Frome where everyone knows everyone gave me sense of security but I felt I needed more. At school, I wouldn’t say I was particularly academic or good at exams, but I did well in subjects that interested me. I missed some college for personal reasons so I felt I was always playing catch-up. However I left college with decent grades and I chose to do A-levels, one of which was Health and Social Care. However due to personal reasons I dropped out, which I thought would end up being a big regret but I’m proud of where I am now and the job I’m doing. I’ve now been given the opportunity to study for a diploma which is being funded by Discovery – a diploma I didn’t think I would have access to at my age. I am now well on my way to starting my higher level diploma and I am grateful to Discovery for this opportunity.

I started my working life at 16, working at my local Halfords: fitting wiper blades, car bulbs, mixing spray paint, fitting child seats which I thoroughly enjoyed for six years but I felt I needed more responsibility. I applied for a job as a supervisor at a new department store that was opening in town, from there I was promoted to Assistant Manager. After a couple of years I developed a new passion for beauty and I applied for a job at Boots. I started as a customer assistant on tills, and was promoted to be responsible for make-up. I often helped out in the fragrance department which I enjoyed and I was promoted to fragrance consultant, and my eyes and nose were opened to a whole new side of beauty and I loved it!

I knew nothing about the care sector, but I left retail because I had so much care and compassion to give but nowhere to apply it. Some friends and family didn’t think a job in care would be a good fit for me, however deep down I knew that this is what I wanted to do as a career. Now my family and friends see how I have changed as a person and how I have developed the passion for what I do and they are proud of me. I researched a few companies and came across Discovery, it was local and their core values on how they support people really struck a chord with me and I really loved the idea of supporting adults with learning disabilities to live independent lives. So without hesitation I applied and shortly afterwards I was invited to interview. I was really anxious beforehand, having not had any experience in the care sector, I didn’t know what to expect but once I was there I felt completely at ease and welcome and I’m still here two years later.

My career with Discovery started as a support worker and I’m now an Assistant Locality Manager at a supported living service in Frome. It’s taken hard work and dedication to get here, but I put it down to the passion I have developed for supporting people: I have gained trust, and built great relationships with people and their families. I know I have made a real difference to people’s lives which makes the hard work worth it and I feel more satisfied than I ever have in a job previous. Supporting adults with learning disabilities to be as independent as possible is extremely rewarding, no two days are the same and no two people are the same. I draw a lot from my own experiences, my own interests (beauty), activities I have access to and how I support myself and I apply that to how I work; we do with, not do for and support people to make their own choices and decisions about their lives so they can remain as independent as they choose to be.

I am so happy that I chose to apply for a job at Discovery, the opportunities, training and support I have been given are rare in the care sector and I am so grateful to the organisation for the career I now have. No two days are the same and no two days always go smoothly but we adapt and work as a team. I support people with medication administration (it’s not as scary as it sounds), finances, bills, health appointments and referrals, personal care but I also paint their nails, go shopping and do fun activities. Recently I went on holiday to Devon with a woman I support and we stayed in a lodge with a hot tub. It was a fantastic experience.

Discovery promotes active support, and person-centred approaches. The people we support and their wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do, and Discovery and Dimensions are leaders in promoting independence and the rights for adults with learning disabilities. Historically, people with learning disabilities and autism have sadly been forgotten, locked away and their rights and preferences as individuals have been taken away from them. This is why I love my job, I have the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives and ultimately make a change in my life. My diploma will enable me to progress in my career, and Discovery also offers a learn to drive scheme which is partially funded, so this will be next on my list. I have no doubt that your local Discovery service will welcome you with open arms; good luck in your career!

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