People in social care talk about the reality of their role
Jill Davies is research and development programme manager at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, a UK wide charity based in London.
Job description: I manage research programmes that promote the rights, quality of life and opportunities of people with learning difficulties and their families. This starts with writing grant proposals and goes through to the dissemination of research.
Skills/qualifications needed: I trained as a learning difficulties nurse first and then studied for a psychology degree,
What’s your job like? I was recruited to manage a three year programme of research addressing the mental health needs of young people with learning difficulties. This programme funded four projects and my role was to ensure they all ran smoothly.
This involved liaising with researchers, advisory groups and funders. I am continuing to work for the foundation on new projects which evolved from the first one. The greatest challenge was to co-ordinate four projects into one report with clear recommendations for practice and to produce a wide range of materials promoting the work of the project. For instance, just last week we launched a DVD and training pack from the two projects based in Scotland at the Scottish parliament.
The great part of my job is being able to develop further work in this hugely neglected area. We have recently started work on a project with the University of Cambridge’s faculty of education looking at innovative ways to ensure the inclusion and wellbeing of pupils with learning difficulties in mainstream school.
We are also working with the Department of Health to look at ways of increasing access to child and adolescent mental health services for this group of children and young people.
There is huge variety in this job, no day is ever the same and I am incredibly lucky to be working for such a forward looking organisation that addresses new and challenging areas of work.