In Profile: Residential Support Worker Jessica

Name: Jessica O'Neill

Role: Residential support worker (RSW) in Young People's Care. I work in a house with young male adults with complex needs, with some students displaying signs of challenging behaviour.

How long have you worked at Seashell? A little over six months.

What does a typical shift look like for you? When I get to the house, I am greeted by the student I'm supporting, a young person with a hearing impairment who uses sign language and PECS. I'm able to take BSL Level 1 sessions funded by Seashell Trust for two hours a week, so I can comfortably communicate with my student - and even pick up a few new signs throughout the day! 

We check our itinerary. Along with after school/college clubs, activities can range from leisure activities like horse-riding to activities specifically designed for that person’s development, such as road safety awareness. Today we are going bowling!

One of my main responsibilities is to support that student to develop their life skills, so they reach their full potential in becoming as independent as they can. The student I’m working with today loves cooking, so together we've found a new recipe online and we made a meal for the other students and staff.

And after that? We spend our evening relaxing, watching a DVD, until it's time for me to give them their medication and support them in their personal care. Medical training, along with the BSL classes and other training, was all offered by the Trust when I started.

Before the end of my shift, it's time for a cup of tea while I complete my online recordings and paperwork. During this time I like to reflect upon the day, concluding on what goals my student has achieved - their time out of college is still important for developing independence and life skills - and how I was able to contribute to this.

If you could sum up your experience so far at Seashell, what do you think the most important lesson you've learned is? That every day is completely different. Although some days can be quite challenging, making a difference to the lives of children and young adults makes every day worthwhile.

In Profile is a series of profiles to share more about the work of Seashell staff, and has previously featured swim instructor Cameron.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a part of our care team, or see what vacancies Seashell Trust has that might work for you, please visit our Careers site