WITH a background in education and nursery care, Jane Gilbert brought a wealth of transferrable skills to the table when she joined the North East Autism Society’s Family Support team.

Having started out as a casual worker in August 2017, Jane has progressed through the ranks and in February 2021 she was promoted to Team Leader, working in the North of Tyne region.

“Before I was at NEAS I was actually a nursery assistant and I also did some classroom assistant work - but I always knew deep down that I wanted to do more than that, I always wanted to work with children with additional needs,” Jane says.

When I saw this role I thought, ‘I am going to try that, why not’, and I am so glad I did because I absolutely love it. 

“I’ve been here four years now and it’s something that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do.”

Jane says she also has a personal connection to our mission as an organisation, as her daughter is currently going through the autism diagnosis process.

“All of the skills that I’ve learned in this job have made that process so much easier,” she adds: “It’s been really nice to be able to take the skills I’ve learned from work back home and be able to support my daughter.”

Working as part of the Family Support team, Jane and her colleagues provide a vital community outreach service to autistic and neurodivergent children, young people and adults, and their families, across the region.

The team strive to ease the pressure on families by providing bespoke person-centred support out in the community, which allows them the chance to pursue their own interests and carry out tasks knowing their loved one is safe and cared for.

Some of the common activities the team supports with include: swimming, shopping, horse riding, cinema trips and ice skating. 

“You name it, I have probably done it in this job,” Jane adds. “No two days are the same, it’s absolutely fantastic.”

Asked what her advice to anyone considering a career with NEAS, Jane says: “Just go for it! Take a chance - you won’t be disappointed.”

She adds: “I’m not going to lie, the job can be very difficult, it can be challenging, but which job isn’t?

It’s so rewarding, it really is. There are days where you think ‘That was a hard day’ but you know at the end of the day you have made a positive impact to that child’s family.

“It’s more than a job. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else to be honest, I absolutely love it.”

The Family Support team are currently recruiting for Activity Support Assistants to join their ranks.

View our current vacancies