North East Autism charity gives staff five per cent pay rise and says 'come work for us'
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The above-average pay increase for all staff at the North East Autism Society (NEAS) will be backdated until the beginning of May, and comes as the charity expands Independent Supported Living services across the county.
That growth has led to immediate vacancies for 14 care support assistants in Northumberland.
NEAS chief executive John Phillipson said: “If you think you know what being a carer involves, think again.”
Over the past two years, the charity has increased its support services across the whole region, as well as opening two new schools on Teesside, and plans are in place for that growth to continue.
As a result, there are lots of opportunities for careers in caring roles, and it is hoped the five per cent pay rise makes a career change more attractive.
In an announcement to more than 1,000 employees, Mr Phillipson, said trustees had taken the “bold decision” to approve the pay rise, even though the scale of the increase will exceed the society’s anticipated surplus for the year, and could lead to the charity drawing on its reserves.
However, the trustees agreed that it was essential to do as much as possible to help staff cope with the cost of living crisis and to attract new recruits, while ensuring the long-term future of services wasn’t placed at risk.
Mr Phillipson added: “There are a lot of misconceptions around working in care. Of course, we want empathetic and caring staff, but our focus is very different from the hotel model of caring for customers.
“We are looking for people – especially in Northumberland – with transferable skills from different careers, who can become active support workers and relish the idea of helping autistic adults to reach their full potential.”
The roles are based on personalised support programmes for adults. That might include supporting them to become more engaged in the community, have holidays, enjoy day trips, visit to the pub, go swimming, play sport, or try arts and crafts.
NEAS has an extensive induction training programme to support new staff, so previous experience in the care sector is not essential.
For example, Katie Moffatt, 21, had previously worked in office administration but is now a team leader for Independent Supported Living with NEAS in Bedlington.
Katie and her team support a young man, called Luke, to live in his home town and enjoy a range of activities, including exploring his love of trains at the Stephenson Steam Railway at Wallsend.
Katie said: “When you say you work in care, people think of care homes, not supporting an individual to live their best life, but that’s what we do.
"I would 100 per cent recommend the job, it’s so rewarding and there are lots of opportunities for progression.”
To find out more about the Northumberland vacancies, go to: https://hr-neas.secure.force.com/recruit/fRecruit__ApplyJob?vacancyNo=VN153&