Thea's Story

“DHI offers exciting roles, working with interesting people”

Thea started work for Developing Health and Independence (DHI) as a volunteer in 2017.

“I had a teaching degree, but after a while I realised I didn’t want to be a teacher. I then worked in sales and marketing roles, which I didn’t find very satisfying – I didn’t really connect with it. I knew I wanted to move into the charity sector and support social change."

Social Inequality

“My interest in social inequality started during my studies. I was looking for a role where I could connect with my values by supporting people who were marginalised. I discovered a volunteering role online, working for DHI. They were advertising for a part-time position in their drugs and alcohol service.

"I had no experience of health and social care, or working with drug and alcohol clients, but started volunteering for half a day on the front desk of the Beehive recovery centre, were I found all the staff welcoming and positive."

Volunteer work is exciting

“I was already working full-time so volunteering on a Saturday seemed potentially difficult – I was commuting from Chippenham. But the volunteer work was immediately exciting, I really enjoyed it. I used my soft-skills and listened, which is a big part of working in a role with DHI. I did that for six months.”

Thea was supported by Veronica Kuperman, now DHI’s Social Prescribing service manager. “Veronica really pushed me and told me to apply for a permanent role. I didn’t feel that I was ready, as I didn’t feel like I was doing a front-line role, however Veronica’s support and encouragement helped me with my confidence.”

Lots of opportunities

Thea has worked in a variety of roles including criminal justice, managing teams of treatment workers, and is now in a peer and volunteer coordinator role. “DHI offers a fantastic training program. I have gained skills in workload management, specific interventions for supporting people like CBT techniques and motivational interviewing and also how to negotiate and build relationships with other services and stakeholders.

“It is amazing as an employee to be part of a team which is small enough to feel valued, but also growing enough for there to be lots of different opportunities.”

Last year Thea left DHI for a short time, taking on a role in the Civil Service. “I did not have the freedoms and space to use my values I had enjoyed at DHI, so I decided to apply for another role back with DHI after three months.”

Thea’s message to others

"If you’re interested in any kind of career that looks to support people, DHI is an amazing place to start. You’ll work with interesting people, supporting those who want change. If you don’t feel you have the right experience, your soft skills, beliefs and values are what count – so don’t be put off applying for a role at DHI!"

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