ANDERIDA STAFF GUIDE
Consider these pages a kind of virtual staff handbook; a useful guide to help new staff get started and for experienced staff to refer to.
Throughout this guide, you will find information on the organisation, useful sections explaining best practice, and other bits and pieces that should help any new member of staff on their way to being a knowledgeable and equipped mentor.
The role of a Mentor is complex and we always encourage new members of staff to ask questions - all existing staff will be more than happy to answer them no matter how minor you may consider them to be.
Here is a little bit about the organisation.
In 1991, frustrated with the lack of adequate provisions for troubled adolescents in care with a history of failed placements, Brian Thompson, the Managing Director of the company, set up Anderida Adolescent Care. He and Finance Director, Hazel Pries, went about developing the organisation until in 2006 they brought in new Directors Erica and Kerry.
With an expanding number of care homes, Anderida, by tradition, caters to young people in care who may have a history of failed placements and who display challenging behavior. The organisation works to prepare young people in our care for life independently. We teach them life skills, help them overcome the issues that life has presented them with, and keep them safe in a warm, homely environment whilst providing them with opportunities, experiences, and options to benefit them in the long term and enrich their lives.
THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS
Make no bones about it, the recruitment process can be a long one but it is important that we follow the necessary procedure in order to best protect the young people that we work with and recruit the kind of reliable and talented staff that will provide the best support and care for them.
We ask that all candidates complete an application pack and CV’s are welcome in support of your application. We will then write to you and invite you in for an interview should your application be successful. Depending on the volume of applicants, this could be a group interview. Should you be successful at your group interview, you will be invited to a one to one formal interview.
When you come in we will undertake an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Check (Enhanced DBS Check) where full disclosure of convictions will take place and we do ask for honesty both on the form and within your interview. This includes warnings, cautions, and misdemeanors that you may consider to be spent. It is important to state that Anderida take every candidate into consideration, but, as we’re sure you’ll understand, the young people’s safety is at the center of all that we do. If your Enhanced DBS check flags up something that you have not declared this may lead to the offer of employment being withdrawn. Unfortunately, the nature of the beast means that the Enhanced DBS check can roll on and on. Please be patient as it is not us processing this but the Criminal Record’s Bureau.
Should you be successful in your initial interview and subject to us receiving two references and an acceptable Enhanced DBS, you will be given the opportunity to attend two short trial shifts to gain a further understanding of how we support young people and to gain an insight into how you interact in this environment. Both staff and the young people will be asked to complete written reports for us to discuss with you during a feedback meeting. It is at this point, that you may be offered a position. Best of luck!
CONGRATULATIONS YOU GOT THE JOB
First and foremost, read all below. It will answer not all, but a lot of questions that you may have about the organisation and how you can make the best start.
Initially you will be put on shift with experienced members of staff and provided with an induction pack for you to work through as and when you find time whilst on shift. You may be asked to complete this at home if there isn't an opportunity in work hours. This will teach you a lot around our policies and procedures and the values and principles that underpin residential childcare. At the home and at our Head Office you will find all manner of material and legislation to help you complete your induction.
During your first shifts remember to:
Watch the way that your colleagues work.
Familiarise yourself with the paper work.
Get to know the young people without giving personal information away about yourself.
Remember that information surrounding the young people is paramount and information is not shared between the young people and the homes.
Read up on the young people’s support plan.
Read the communications book—this will fill you in on recent messages from other staff that you should be aware of.
Relax, be yourself and ask questions.
Whilst there is no denying the fact that you are new, maintaining a boundaried professionalism from the outset for the young people makes them feel secure in your care. Your confident first impressions are vital in the setting the tone for a good working relationship with the young people. Your colleagues will help you learn your role, so remember to ask them if you are unsure on anything, out of ear shot of the young people.
Working with young people
The work that we do can be hugely rewarding but there will always be highs and lows. It is important that new staff understand that Anderida work with young people who can display challenging behaviour which ultimately means that the job is a challenging role. One day you may have a shift where everything works like clockwork, you feel like you have made breakthroughs and leave feeling on a high. The next shift may well be the polar opposite and while you can’t prepare for this, we do ask that you understand that this is part and parcel of the role and something to be expected.
Some lows of working with young people
(As described by a selection of staff)
The shifts are long.
Restraint techniques may have to be used.
Sometimes you may feel like the young person is singling you out.
Foul and abusive language is not uncommon.
We are often witness to, and have to deal with, self harm, drugs, violence and other negative situations.
Some of the young people may have had particularly unhappy and abusive pasts and this can impact on staff.
Bad behaviour whilst out and about can be tough to deal with and let’s face it, can be embarrassing!
Late nights are not uncommon.
Some highs of working with young people
(As described by a selection of staff)
Making breakthroughs in behaviour is hugely rewarding.
A particularly good day can often leave you with a feeling of tremendous job satisfaction.
Sometimes you will enjoy activities that you thought you’d never get up to.
Gym visits, sports, a culture of healthy eating; they’re all good for the mind, body and soul.
For every tough moment there is a joyous one!
Building fantastic friendships with your colleagues.
Helping young people and talking things through in a positive light often teaches you a lot about yourself.
Some key tips...
Remain boundaried. Key to running a tight ship is that all staff sing from the same hymn sheet. Often if one member of the team lets something go or ignores a rule this can be confusing and unsettling for the young person and the rest of the team will suffer. In terms of good child care, everyone must remain consistent with everyone else and that all starts with good communication.
Support one another. Things don’t always go to plan on shift and the work can often become stressful. Staff supporting staff is key. Be aware of sharing the responsibilities and make decisions together. Feeling like you are leading a shift single-handedly can often be exhausting.
Keep smiling. When things are getting heavy, finding the brighter side with your colleagues will always help relieve some of the tension.
Read up. Some decisions could be made on shift that to some, may seem minor; presenting a young person with their pocket money or giving them permission to go somewhere for example. Every young person that we work with has their own set of support plans and those examples could lead to something that could seriously endanger that young person. Make sure that you are clued up on the young person that you are working with.
There are more, of course. Keep asking questions!
Some of the company Directors started out as Mentors and there is always room for staff to progress in seniority throughout their career at Anderida. Traditionally the next step would be to progress to the position of Senior Mentor and then to Deputy Home Manager and Home Manager and the organisation always considers existing staff for these positions as and when they arise.
Anderida isn’t set in its ways and the management are always open to suggestions in terms of further broadening the horizons of what the organisation already does. Staff have taken on extra roles such as in-house diploma assessing, Educational Coordinator, running the Diploma & Assessment Centre, marketing, delivering training or counselling while there is also room to oversee certain aspects of the company ie Key Workers, a Green & Ethical Officer, Health & Safety Officer and other officer positions are always becoming available.
Anderida’s training is ongoing and very thorough. Some of our best project workers have never done anything like this before, but thanks to natural ability coupled with a diverse selection of training, they can excel.
Director of Training Kerry Shoesmith is entirely receptive to any training courses that staff may want to suggest, or indeed deliver, that may benefit themselves and their development, or the staff team as a whole.
Your colleagues and life at Anderida
Here at Anderida, staff spend long hours together and some good friendships are forged. It is important that we all look out for each other and offer support where we can.
Building on these relationships is important, in order to maintain a mutual respect between staff and to feel like a strong, united and cohesive unit, working together and singing from the same hymn sheet.
So what do we do as well as look after the young people?
Annual fun days. We invade the MD's farm and compete in a range of fun games and eat and drink and be merry.
Public house education evenings... Errm... Or 'going to the pub,' as it's more commonly known.
Christmas Do. We have an annual get together and meal. It has also become the tradition that we throw an 'awards ceremony'. A few weeks prior, staff vote for who they believe should win awards like "The Heat Award for Biggest Gossip" and the "Human Crutch Award for propping up colleagues when they most need it". Yes, they get quite silly...
A shot from a recent summer fun day.
First and foremost always put your hours down on the timesheets at the unit that you are working in. Due to the nature of the work that we do and the fact that staff may be popping in and out of homes for staff meetings of diploma purposes, for example, it is imperative that your hours get logged - think of it as clocking in and out. They are your hours and your responsibility.
On starting with Anderida your basic salary will vary based on your current experience and training.
Mentor: £21,736 based on a 44-hour week plus the potential to earn up to £8,828 per annum for sleeping-in allowance.
You will receive regular appraisals with which to review your performance and how we support you. Based on your practice and involvement within the organisation, an increment may be awarded the following April alongside an annual cost of living rise.
You will also receive a whopping 28 days holiday pay pro-rata!
How can you help Anderida?
Anderida thrives off feedback from staff and members of the team, feeding back into the organisation as a whole. Every year we have an AGM where the staff get to feed back positively and constructively. This input will feed into the following years plan.
Staff meetings and supervision provide a more regular forum with which to feedback and the organisation continues to work on a culture of self assessment and improvement, so do make suggestions and any ideas that you may have in terms of the organisation’s diversification - let them be known!
A recent AGM. An opportunity to influence how Anderida operates.
Recuitment & Diversity
We are committed to employing staff from all manner of backgrounds, ages, and walks of life because it is essential that we enrich the lives of the young people that we care for by offering them life experiences, cultures, and skills that only individuals from across a broad spectrum of society can offer. We are always on the lookout for people with creative flair, people with hobbies and interests that could be appropriately tapped into, and people who can pass on some rich life experiences that in turn open doors within the imagination of the young people. We want balance and, for every younger mentor, we want an older one, for every athlete we want an academic, and for every talented chef we want someone with the Midas touch around the home.