08 November 2021

A career change for Support Worker, Jacqueline Reid

Moorpark Place in Kilbirnie, Scotland is a specialist supported living service for adults who are on the Autistic Spectrum.  We meet Jacqueline Reid who, having completed a degree in Psychology from Paisley University, joined the team as a Support Worker in 2008. Today, Jacqueline is the Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) at Moorpark and she tells us about her role at Moorpark Place and how the company provided her with the opportunity to change direction.

What made you decide to choose Speech and Language Therapy?

‘I started working at Moorpark in 2008 in a support worker role, before joining the Speech and Language team as their SLT Assistant in December 2014. Once in the SLT Assistant post I was given the opportunity – from my clinical lead at the time – to become their Speech and Language Therapist, via the Huntercombe Academy route. I attended Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh for two years and completed the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) Speech and Language Therapy course. Upon finishing the course, I gained a distinction and I re-joined Moorpark on 25th August 2021. I’m very excited to be starting my Newly Qualified Speech and Language Therapist journey as part of the Moorpark Place community.

Can you describe a typical day?

‘There is no typical day within my role, every day is different. This depends on the residents’ communication needs and what resources are required.  This makes the job exciting and rewarding every single day.

Speech and Language daily input can range from group and individual sessions, implementing visual communication systems, updating existing systems, tracking progress of all SLT input, as well as staff training on effective communication strategies.

Together with the Speech and Language Therapy Assistant, we work within a tiered approach to service delivery. Therefore, we aim to increase communication awareness through our social media platform, group training sessions for direct support staff and importantly, through person-centred 1:1 and group sessions for our residents.

Every day, we promote an inclusive/total communication environment by emphasising the use of all communication modalities to get our message across. We promote inclusive environments by demonstrating, using and training staff in all forms of communication. For instance the use of verbal, signing, symbols, gestures, using objects of reference, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and easy-read accessible information formats.

What do you particularly enjoy about your role?

‘For me the best part of the job is interacting with our residents everyday.  Enabling our residents to take part in their preferred activities, and  communicate in their individualised way is incredibly rewarding.

Within my  newly qualified role, I am supported by an excellent SLT supervisor, Enid Gosling. Enid supports me with regular supervisions and provides knowledge and guidance with specific caseloads. As part of my Newly Qualified role I need to complete set competencies set by The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). Enid offers guidance and reassurance whenever I have questions while completing the competencies.

Working at Moorpark Place since 2008 has allowed me to build up strong friendships along the way. These friendships has provided regular support and encouragement when needed, something that I will value throughout my career.

Importantly within my SLT role at Moorpark Place I am lucky enough to be part of an environment which actively embed a person-centred approach to each resident’s care. Consequently, I am surrounded by staff who are expertise within their field and continuously strive to individualise their communication approach with each resident.

Is there anything challenging about your role?

‘I currently work part time. Due to the nature of the SLT input and the changing pace of materials and resources required, at times it can be challenging to complete what’s required within part-time hours. My to-do list is my best friend. Fortunately within the SLT department there is also a SLT Assistant. The SLT Assistant and myself work in unison to endeavour to compete tasks, plan and implement sessions and communication systems/ resources.

What’s the best thing about working at Moorpark?

‘The best thing about working at Moorpark is definitely working together with my colleagues and the residents to provide personalised, inclusive communication methods.  Moorpark is a community and everyone here has the residents best interests at heart.  I enjoy helping our residents with their  communication and to see how this improves their quality of life, self-esteem, independence and their sense of belonging in the community.’

What advice would you give to someone considering a role/career with Huntercombe?

The Huntercombe Group provides careers to people, not just a job. They offer expertise training, education and practical experience across a variety of different conditions such as mental health, brain injury, autism spectrum disorder and other comorbidities . So, if you are passionate about a career that enables you to empower the individual you work with to accomplished their goal in life, then the Huntercombe Group is for you.

The career opportunity offered by the Huntercombe Group are excellent and the continuous development within the role provides a platform in which you can build your knowledge.  Personally, the development opportunities offered to me encouraged me to further my career and work in an area that I love.

What’s next for you at Huntercombe?

Currently I am working towards my RCSLT competencies, supported by my supervisor. This will take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete.

I will continue to expand my knowledge of SLT and focus on creating inclusive environments for the residents at Moorpark Place.