Laugh! That’s what I would have done as a young twenty something Infantryman, if someone had told me I would be having a successful career in Social Care.
Whether it was training for conflict or serving as a UN Peacekeeper; the words care, compassion and altruism were not used very often. However, it was those experiences that developed within me a desire to do more and gave me the skills that I could transfer into the ever-changing environment of a day in Social Care.
On leaving the Army, I had no idea what I wanted to do and fell into the stereotypical role of working security and playing football on a Saturday while I considered joining one of the emergency services.
During a lengthy recovery following an injury from playing football, I began volunteering as a route back into employment. I completed training in Child Psychology and Counselling and accepted the offer of a job at a primary school where I worked with children who had complex needs.
From here I went on to work at a residential school supporting children and young people with Autism. During this role, I was promoted to my first supervisory role and moved up to a position in the management team.
I am currently working for Thera (Scotland) as a Community Support Leader. The work is so rewarding on many levels; whether it is supporting staff to develop their skills or supporting one of the people we support to achieve an inclusive lifestyle.
I have found that skills built from my time in the Army have been important throughout my career and are used daily in my current role. Some of these include:
- A drive to be the best I can be
- The ability to plan and see things through
- An ability to see the bigger picture and what role I play in achieving that
- The ability to think logically under pressure
- Being adaptable
- Being organized
- Clear communication
- Being able to think openly to find solutions
If you had asked me in my twenties why I joined the army at 16, I would have probably said the skiing, parachuting, travel, and all the other things you see on the recruitment poster.
All of that is probably true but when I reflect on it now, did I also want to make a difference in the world, protect and help people? Because that is what I do now.