Andrew Johnson has been working in the health and social care sector for 16 years. Before pursuing a career in this sector, he worked in retail. Two main reasons persuaded Andrew to change his career path: as someone who has a direct experience of mental ill health, he felt that a job in care would help his recovery journey while inspiring and motivating others in a similar situation and, just as importantly, he was also looking for more secure employment after becoming a father.
Andrew has recently become a Leeds health and care ambassador, developed through the Skills For Care I Care Ambassadors programme, which is an important role that will help people have a better understanding of the rewards and challenges within a career in care. Andrew will take his story to schools, communities and jobcentres across the city. His aim is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to consider health and care as a career, apprenticeship or volunteering role.
The new Leeds Health and Care Academy, a project of the Leeds Health Academic Partnership and a ground breaking collaboration of Leeds health, care and university partners, is recruiting ambassadors from across the city to help promote the many varied roles in health and care.
Part of its work is to attract future employees, to ensure the city has the highly diverse, skilled workforce it needs to serve the people of Leeds, with a focus on recruiting those in the most disadvantaged communities. “I have a compelling personal story to tell as a robust role model for men who have experienced mental ill health, challenged stigma and built their own recoveries. I am a strong believer in the clinician as ‘enabler’ rather than ‘fixer’. I identify personally as an ‘expert patient’.
Andrew works as a Health Support Worker for the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and has also qualified as an Associate Practitioner.
“The sector has much to offer in terms of job security and career progression and has strong links to educational institutions and trade unions”.
Talking about his role as an ambassador, Andrew added: “I would like to help attract talented people from different backgrounds into the workforce, so they can flourish with the right support and make a difference in their own lives and within their communities”.