People are trying but nothing ever gets done
Support Worker (Former Employee) – Glasgow – 20 June 2019
Scottish Autism has high staff turnover for a few reasons. The pay is typically low, there is very little choice in shifts and you can be sent anywhere at short notice. That can mean working a shift in Largs and then going straight onto a shift in Kirkintilloch. You will have no say over your shifts and they will change quickly at short notice or you will find out a shift is cancelled when you have already arrived. This often means you will be using your annual leave to cover the hours of these cancelled shifts if there's no other shift available at short notice.
In certain services a shift might only be 5 hours long which means if you're on a full time contract you're working 6 or 7 days a week to make your contracted hours.
It's an expensive job to do as well, especially if you're on a service such as outreach. These will typically involve going out for a meal with a service user and usually you will receive no meal allowance. So a 5 hour shift can make you £45 but easily cost you £10.
Raising these issues with seniors will you do no good at all. Apparently 'EVERYONE'S miserable, this job is killing everyone!' cos that makes it better? If you have a complaint about your working conditions the message you will receive is that you are the problem.
There's also been a problem that concerns raised are never really acted upon - safety suggestions are ignored, support users are stuck doing the same activities year in year out because there's no movement towards changing anything, training is perfunctory and full of cliches - requests for specific training about issues facing support users have been ignored. So we are helping support users deal with issues surrounding child protection, mental health, addiction, grief, budgeting/benefits etc with NO support.
Though the support users are great there are, inevitably, behavioural issues to be coped with. Some of these will include violence. You will be taught CALM techniques and provided with no further support. It is just accepted that you will be attacked and that it is part of your job.
There is a pattern of young, very inexperienced people being promoted over more experienced staff. They are then given no additional training to go with their new responsibilities. Unsurprisingly this has not improved staff retention.
There are a lot of nice, well meaning people in this company who ARE trying their best to make their support users lives better. However with the complete refusal to address any of the issues leading to staff quitting so quickly we've ended up with a revolving door system. There's no stability, no consistency - which is what people with autism need most. There's never any progress because the staff team refreshes every few months.
On the good side - the job is often interesting. There's a lot of opportunities to accompany support users to activities that you might not have experienced before and you will see parts of Glasgow you didn't know existed.
there's lot of nice people working here. And lovely clients.
You probably won't know those nice people for very long.