Building your career at Advance

Sinti is a great example of someone who joined Advance when she was only 19 and unsure of her career path.  She has used determination and a positive attitude to make use of the training and support we offer at Advance to see her career with us grow and develop.

Sinti is the Service Manager for Dorset with 22 customers with Learning Disabilities who require a mixture of support, some of whom live in Advance properties in and around Bournemouth and Christchurch in Dorset. She leads a team of 16 staff at various locations.

At just 19 years old, Sinti joined Advance in 2015 as a casual support worker after finishing her apprenticeship in Level 2 in childcare. A year later she was offered a full time position.

Sinti said: “Advance is great at providing training and supporting people to move forward in their careers.“ After completing her Level 3 diploma in Health & Social Care she then became a Senior Support Worker in Dorset.

Sinti added that, after being promoted to Service Manager two years ago: “No two days are the same for me.  I love the mix of helping to bring in new business, managing and motivating a team of people and still doing hands on support work with our customers.”  “I also sit on the Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Learning Disability Providers Forum where we can all share ideas or feedback from our services which are shared with the council who commission our services.

During lockdown Sinti and her team have been really creative about how to keep themselves and customers fit and engaged.  There have been yoga sessions, gardening, socially distanced picnics on the beach, and plenty of fun ways to keep in touch with friends and family.

She added: ”Lockdown has given me the chance to do more on iPlanit (our online support planning system), look in more detail at complaints and compliments and really dig deep to be creative in supporting my staff team and customers.  It has been tricky for some customers and staff as there has been a lot of anxiety and fear but we have dealt with it with lots of regular video and telephone calls and making sure we keep in touch with each other on a regular basis.”

Never one to sit still, Sinti is also Chair of the Voice, the Advance staff representative group. “As a group we talk about our PRIDE values a lot – Partnership, Respect, Innovation, Drive and Efficiency. I’m working with others to see if we can refine the PRIDE Awards process a bit and looking at ways in which Advance can recognise the incredible dedication of its front line staff throughout Covid 19.  I am hoping we can have a staff conference online and will be part of the working group helping to put that together.  I’m also lucky to be part of an amazing team here in Dorset who are well supported by our managers and they encourage me every step of the way.”

When asked what she would say to others considering a career in support, particularly young people who have not yet decided on their career path, Sinti replied: “Just do it, you will not regret it. The personal satisfaction you get is second to none.  One of our customers we supported has now gone on to become a support worker himself; he and I passed our driving tests within months of each other.  To see him flourish in this way has been amazing.“

“I am originally from Latvia and they have a slightly different approach to people with learning disabilities and they always think that I am `caring for people’.  When I explain that it is more about how we support people to achieve their own goals and ambitions, they are impressed.”

When asked about what’s next for Sinti she said that she really enjoys her work and loves to learn new things.  She would like to study more about non-verbal communication and will be tapping into the expertise and knowledge of Michelle O’Neil and the Positive Behaviour Support Team”.