Keinan Cooper

I was an academic student and spent the majority of my school years with my sights set on a career in law. I watched it on TV regularly: Suits and Ally McBeal (for those of you that are older than me) and looked at how much fun they were having and the money they earned. I thought, “yes please!” However, after doing my A-levels and being with my partner who was training to be a nurse, I realised that I didn’t want to just to do something that was making money for someone else. Instead, I wanted to do something that I enjoyed.

I spoke to a careers adviser who introduced me to the Japanese concept of Ikigai which includes four ways of living: you love it, the world needs it, you are paid for it and you are great at it.

With this in mind, I saw an open day for Discovery at a local community centre. I met some of the people we support and a manager that has not only interviewed me twice but I now work alongside as a fellow manager. What really attracted me to Discovery was its values: Courage, Ambition, Integrity, Partnership and Respect. I aligned myself with these values and enjoyed the idea of working for an organisation that embraced them.

As a support worker, I spent time supporting adults with mild learning disabilities, autism and mental health difficulties. I was trained in active support, medication administration and meaningful engagement. I dedicated myself to getting to know people that we support and this allowed me to establish key relationships built on trust and similar interests. I supported a couple who lived in a communal home to move into their own flat. We provided support so they could set up their bills with direct debits and receive a new set of benefits. It’s been great to watch them flourish since the move; they are happier in their own space, closer to their community and living meaningful lives.

I was able to request certain shifts to fit around my sport and I worked every Sunday and had every Saturday off as well as doing an early shift on Thursdays for training. This meant I could play football during the winter and cricket during the summer. Discovery was brilliant at offering this flexible working for me and they’ll do that for colleagues coming in as well now.

It was with this base knowledge that I was promoted to become a Better Practice Lead (BPL). This excited me because it gave me the chance to not just make a difference to someone’s life but to help guide and inspire a team to make a difference. As a BPL, I learnt more about Health and Safety, Compliance and Risk Management as well as consolidating my knowledge on support plans. I was put through my qualifications and a Lead to succeed course and our qualifications’ team were amazing in supporting me through this. It enabled me to learn different skills and how to support a much wider range of health conditions as well as supporting my team.

My hard work, persistence and dedication did not go unnoticed and after just 18 months as a BPL, I took another step-up to become a Locality Manager. As a Locality Manager, I now have the chance to lead a team and make more of a difference to the lives of the people we support. There has been some changes in staffing at the home I manage and I am working to build bridges to ensure the team works in partnership and with respect based on our organisational values.

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