HAVING worked in a busy restaurant kitchen, Modou Colley possessed a wealth of transferrable skills when he joined the North East Autism Society in January 2020.

Despite enjoying a successful eight-year career with TGI Friday’s, Modou says he wanted to do more with his life and began looking for opportunities to give back to the community, eventually settling on the idea of working within the care sector.

And the former chef says his knowledge of working practices, such as health and safety and food safety, helped him to quickly adapt to his role as a Care Support Assistant for the Society.

“I was working as a chef and I thought that was the only job I could do,” Modou says. “I was working every weekend, day in, day out, working long hours, so I wasn’t thinking about doing anything else. 

But then I thought, ‘Okay I’ve seen support workers out in the community helping older people, can I do something else where I can help the community?’

Having decided to pursue a career in care, Modou enrolled at college and completed a Diploma in Care and the Care Certificate. He then worked in palliative care before securing a job with NEAS.

“Palliative care, home care, I did so many things, but working with young people and helping young people is what I really wanted to do,” he adds.

Modou’s wish came true when he joined the team at our Redewood ISL home in Newcastle more than two years ago, and he says the “family” atmosphere within the home helped him to settle in quickly.

The team I’ve found here at Redewood, I easily blended in. It is just like a family. And I quickly settled with the lads too.

What he hadn’t learned at college, Modou says he picked up during the week-long induction training provided by the Society, and on the job under the guidance of his colleagues.

Modou adds: “The training helps a lot, but the real training starts when you start the job, because every person you support is different.

“You have to try and fit yourself around their likes and dislikes to work with them. This is their home, so we have to fit around them and their needs.”

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