Blog: My first year as a Learning Support Worker

It’s just over a year since I started my new role as Learning Support Worker for Mind the Gap, in the middle of a national lockdown and global pandemic – a strange time to start any new job!

A headshot of Becca Johnson. She is a white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and shoulder length mid brown hair. She has a small nose ring and is wearing a pink top and a brown cardigan. The photo is taken outside in front of a large black frame.

Having studied theatre and performance at the University of Leeds, and worked at Leeds Playhouse for three and a half years with their youth theatre and Buzz programme, I was very aware of Mind the Gap and their work. So, when the job opportunity came up, I knew I had to apply.

The job description sounded right up my street! Working across theatre, dance and music in a busy learning environment and working closely with people, which has always been very important to me. A job that brought all of my previous work experience together.

When I was interviewed for the role and supported a short online workshop with the company’s students and Artists, I knew that Mind the Gap was exactly the kind of company I wanted to work for. A company that I could really thrive within. Naturally, I was thrilled when I got the call to tell me I had got the job!

What does a Learning Support Worker do? Great question! It’s my job to ensure that the company’s Artists and students are happy and confident with what they’re doing during sessions. I’m there to make sure everyone can do their best work. A big part of being able to do this is having an in depth understanding of everyone’s access needs and where someone may need additional support. That’s one of the things I love about Mind the Gap. Everyone might be in the same room and working together towards the same goal, but the training is truly individualised for each person.

This approach has taught me a lot. I’ve learnt that you can’t effectively support someone until you’ve built a good relationship with that person and the unique environment at Mind the Gap enables this to happen. The company’s Artists and students feel at home here. They’re comfortable, happy, and have no guard up. This allows everyone to create a great bond with each other, with little or no hierarchy between students, Artists and staff members.

While everyone is here to work and create incredible art, we’re also great friends. We all have our ‘in jokes’, a good level of banter and we trust each other. That’s what enables everyone to thrive at Mind the Gap. I honestly never thought I could feel so positive and passionate about a job… but I do, and I love it!

By Becca Johnson, Learning Support Worker

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