Ben Jackson Nash pictured with his award

How Ben went from support worker to manager in six months – and won an award!

Changing careers is daunting at the best of times.

We find a job, jump in, cross our fingers behind our backs, and hope it’s the right one. While, over in the dating world, it’s unwise to commit to the first person you see. So how about a job that lets you choose where you work so you can find the right one for you?

If that sound like a work wish come true to you, then meet Ben:

“I wanted to make a difference and feel valued, but I didn’t know how until I found floating support work. I liked floating between homes. I moved around venues in hospitality, so it gave me a familiar model whilst trying a new career.”

Ben Jackson-Nash

That was September 2021. Six months later, he’s the assistant locality manager at The Brambles-winning an Inspirational People Award along the way!

Fast and impressive work for someone entirely new to social care.

So, what’s behind the award win? And fast career progression?

Today, we find out:

“I climbed the retail ranks until I reached Next’s flagship store, but they kept pulling staff from the shop floor until I couldn’t do one-to-one shops anymore. I loved giving people a bespoke service, so I left.”

Can you spot the transferrable skill?

If you are thinking, ‘Aha! Ben is a person-centred person!’ Then full marks.

Still, he took a detour into hospitality:

“I went around different venues, pulling them up from the ashes until I launched a pub in Taunton. There, I stayed until after Covid. Then, when we reopened, people were different—more entitled. Plus, I was doing 60-hour weeks and getting paid for 40.”

Why do we stay in unsatisfactory situations?

Ben’s partner asked him that very question. One month later, Ben became a floating support worker:

“Two months in, my manager, Jodie, asked how long I had been in social care. When I said two months, she thought I meant in my current post.”

Ben, with Jodie (in the pink) and team at Discovery’s Inspiring People Awards.

Jodie thought Ben had worked in social care his entire life. He certainly took to it like a squirty duck to bath time water (keep reading). However, before we get there:

In December, Ben’s Covid booster took a bizarre turn:

“I had a heart attack. Being the one-in-a-million person with the rare pericarditis reaction. It was March before I properly returned, the same time the assistant manager position became available.”

Decision time.

Does Ben go for it or not? On the one hand, this is perfect for him. On the other, it’s a new career. He only started six months ago, was sick for half of it, and only just got back.

“A couple of managers said they saw me running my own home, and I said I could too – in about five years! But here I am – assistant locality manager in six months!”

Once a manager, always a manager?

“I have run many teams, so I had a different head on my shoulders from the beginning. I naturally lead, and leadership qualities can’t help but get seen.”

What makes an inspiring person?

And what is behind Ben’s Inspirational People Award?

“In a person’s support plan, we are told a lot about a person, including any history of distressed  behaviour. Meaning colleagues could potentially see the behaviour rather than the person. For example, in my first week, one person we support started rocking and shouting and pulling his pad off. Was this a ‘behaviour of distress’? Yes, and it’s because he couldn’t explain he needed personal care – looking at it that way helps us think through solutions.

Bath time was an anxious time too.

Until Ben came across some squirty bath time ducks one day:

“Now, we emerge from bath time, drenched but happy! We supporting an autistic lady who gets anxious when she is out of her bedroom, so she starts shouting. Interacting with her calms her so now her support team chat with her as they walk (and sometimes dance) around the house. On Friday, we went out of the house on a steam train to Dunster by Candlelight. She also asked to go shopping the other day, which is a sure sign of her anxiety lessening.”

What does Ben say about his career move into support work?

“I have never looked back or thought, ‘why did I do this? Instead, I ask myself, ‘why didn’t I do it sooner?’ No day is ever the same. The sense of reward and achievement you get after you have supported somebody to change something in their life, whether large or small, is out of this world.”

Thinking of trying floating support so you can find the role that’s right for you?

If so, give Melissa a call on 07384894226 or Email Melissa here to get started.

Or if you already know it’s Ben and Jodie’s team you want to join apply for the last vacancy here before 12th January

The Dimensions group (which Discovery is a part of) has been officially accredited as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute for two years running. Additionally, this year, we received a “Wellbeing” award and a “Great Workplace for Women” award.