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Andrea Leadley, Team Manager

I started at withYOU back when it was part of Edinvar Community Care. I was on a college placement, and the manager at the time very kindly put me in the relief pool so that they could pay me for some of my shifts. I really enjoyed the work, so I applied for a contract after I graduated.

I’ve been a full member of staff since 2002 – more than 20 years!

When I was younger, I always wanted to be a social worker. I’ve always been around people that provide support in different ways. For example my mum was a bus escort, supporting people on social work transport to go to day services.

I did an Access to Social Work course but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy my placement. It was based in an office. It was just names on a screen, rather than interacting with people. That’s not what I wanted to do.

I wanted that ‘hands-on’ experience. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. 

All of my jobs before I was at university involved people. I used to work in youth clubs, and had a Saturday job at Argos. I never wanted to be stuck inside working on a computer.

I decided to change my life, and go down the route of social care and community education.

At first, I decided to work with kids that have learning disabilities. It wasn’t quite for me – but then I tried an adult setting and just loved it. And here I am: many, many years later!

I currently work with adults with learning disabilities and neurodiversity. withYOU provides support across a range of services, and I’ve got experience in most of them. I’ve also taken cover shifts at the others, to help out when needed.

If somebody needs help, I’m the first to put my hand up and say “I’ll do it” because that’s why I’m in the job. I like providing support to people and making a difference in their lives.

My original contract was as a Senior Support Worker. I’ve always been the type of person that’s happy to take on extra tasks. I was always asking for extra duties and for opportunities to learn things. So, even as a Senior Support Worker, I was doing some tasks that a Team Leader would do.

There’s lots of support to move up in your career at withYOU.

My career really started moving upwards when I was asked to go and cover a service while the manager was on annual leave. It was supposed to be for two weeks, but I ended up in a role with team leader responsibilities for 18 months. This gave me the chance to learn loads of new skills.

When the 18 months were up, I went back to Peffer – and the Manager there decided to move on. So I stepped up again, taking on the team leader tasks until another manager joined.