BRETT Hayter is a support worker with Discovery, a not-for-profit provider of support for autistic adults and people with learning disabilities in Somerset.

Brett supports some of these individuals to get the very most out of life, which he says is so much more rewarding than he could ever have hoped.

Now 28, Brett, from Yeovil, worked in the leisure industry from the age of 16. By the time the pandemic hit, he had worked his way up to the role of Senior Operations Manager, but he was nonetheless made redundant and ended up on a casual contract: forty hours one week; the next, four.

With a wedding on the way, Brett began applying for full-time, permanent jobs. But he was wary of returning to retail, where he had worked as a teenager. Then he saw the advert for a role with Discovery.

As a bubbly, outgoing people person, Brett suspected that the role of a support worker might be for him. And after being successful in his application for the job, he has never looked back.

He is thriving. Supporting individuals to stay active and to engage with their local community, he frequently draws on his background in leisure but mostly on his own personal skills and interests.

In fact, he was pleasantly surprised to find that Discovery used his profile to match him with individuals whom we would be best suited to supporting. So it is no wonder that both Brett and one of the people he supports love taking long walks together, or that he happily accompanied another individual in watching the whole Euros on television last summer.

It is no surprise, either, that he relishes his role so much.

Brett was previously unfamiliar with the role of a support worker. Like many of his friends, he initially imagined a regimented, institutionalised world – one where he would be stuck in the house all day, lifting people out of bed, taking them down to the lounge, waiting while they have coffee...

...But the reality turned out to be very different. Working in a supported living setting, Brett supports individuals to live their most fulfilled life possible, whatever that means for the individual themselves.

No two days are the same, and none of it really feels like work to Brett. Not only does he not wear a uniform, but he also likens the role to going to a friend’s house for the day or even a home away from home.

A supported living setting is the home of the people that Brett and his colleagues at Discovery support. Brett’s role is to come in, listen to what they want to get from the day, and support them to achieve it.

Seeing the results, he says, is what makes him happiest.

Looking back, what strikes him most is how unaware he was of supported living as a crucial element of adult social care, and how glad he is that he found it largely by accident.

Now, he could not imagine himself doing anything else.

Interested in how you could have a career like Brett’s? Find out more here.