25 Ways Thera has made an Impact – Employing people with lived experience

Posted 01/03/2024

Thera has employed people with a learning disability since the beginning and currently employs 13 people with paid leadership positions. Read more about the how Thera has made an impact over the last 25 years.

Since the beginning, Thera has been led by its vision, most notably that people with a learning disability can be leaders in society, and should be integral in devising, and monitoring the support that support providers give.

Thera recruited their first service quality director in 1999 and it has been an integral part of the organisation to recruit people with lived experience. Thera has 13 paid leadership positions including 9 Service Quality Directors who each jointly lead a care and support company alongside the Managing Director.

Thera’s structure is built around people with a lived experience being in positions of leadership. Virginia Fenton, Lead Director of The Quality Company, spoke about Thera’s history in this regard in a recent interview.

When I look at the timeline of when The Quality Company started, Thera was the pioneer in promoting people with a lived experience in management.

Thera employs Service Quality Directors who help monitor the support of people and also work with the Managing Directors, deciding the directions of the different organisations. Sara Danby, Group Lead Director of Quality and Involvement, spoke of the importance of hiring people with a lived experience.

It’s integral to societies and communities to be well rounded. We need to employ people with wide ranges of experiences. People with a learning disability have a huge amount to offer that often goes overlooked. We have a responsibility to show other organisations across the sector the benefits of hiring people with a learning disability in the hopes we can remove the stigma.

Jordan Allan is the Service Quality Director for Thera (Scotland). At a recent Leadership Café hosted by Equal Futures, he discussed the effect that full time employment has had on his life.

It’s given me an unbelievable amount of independence. Before I’d started working I wouldn’t even go half an hour away and now I travel to Inverness and England. Things that I’d never done ten years ago. I now have my own home, which I never thought was possible. It makes you equal in society.

As well as having a positive effect on his own life, Jordan also discusses the importance of Service Quality Directors and their role.

It’s really important for the people we support to see our Service Quality Directors as someone they can speak too and also a bit of a role model. Helping the people we support is why I am in this job. I want to help them live a good life.

Read more about Thera’s vision here