Stewart Hutcheson started thinking about a career in care in the most unlikely place: a gym.
As a leisure attendant working in a fitness facility in Dundee, he got talking to a support worker who was bringing children with disabilities to use the trampoline. “I got talking to him and then working with them, helping them with the trampolining sessions. And I thought ‘This could be a career’.”
He was right. He joined a children’s foster charity where he got his first formal experience of the care sector. Stewart then heard through a friend that ASC, which enables adults with perceived challenging behaviour to lead as independent a life as possible, was recruiting. He joined the Balbeggie based facility as a support worker and after three years was promoted to senior support worker.
In 2021, Stewart took up the role of in-house trainer for ASC. He teaches staff positive behaviour management (PBM) – how to de-escalate situations with service users using prevention strategies and replacement skills that that are specific to the individual.
“Keeping people safe is my passion,” he says. “And the fact that I’ve worked for seven years on the floor as a support worker means I know how staff feel when they are faced with a challenging situation.”
He explains: “Maybe staff are finding it difficult to communicate with a service user.” It is “very rewarding”, he says, seeing the PBM techniques working. And now he wants to take it further. Stewart and his colleague Craig also provide training at two more specialist care sites, Balhousie Forth View in Methil, Fife and Balhousie Rumbling Bridge in Perthshire – both owned by sister brand Balhousie Care Group.
The best thing for Stewart about his job is the people and the team building that seems to happen so naturally at ASC. “Everyone knows this kind of job is hard at times but here at ASC they’ve got a solid team to fall back on.”
Stewart leads a training session for staff at ASC.