Through this blog I have had the opportunity to speak to a few people who are thinking of changing careers like myself. Its been fascinating to draw comparisons with my own journey and to see how successful they have been; heaven knows I have no advice to offer out as yet!
Jason Cleworth was one of these friends, who quit his job last October having worked in Jersey for the telecoms industry for the last 12 years, in the hope that unemployment would give him the drive and motivation he needed to pursue his dream job. It was a move of utter brilliance or sheer madness!!
When we met Jason had already had a turbulent journey in his goal to becoming a physiotherapist. With a degree in Sports Science he returned to Jersey and due to the lack of jobs in physiotherapy started work at Jersey Telecoms where he found himself spending the next 12 years quite comfortably.
To gain entry onto a Physiotherapy Masters degree Jason found out that he needed to refresh his studies and so spent the next two years completing a Diploma in Anatomy and Physiology in his spare time. He also had the backing of the States of Jersey who would be able to fund the course so it was the cumulation of a well-oiled plan when he handed in his resignation.
However, things quickly turned sour when Jason revisited the education department and was informed of their new policy which would mean they were no longer able fund his Masters course as it was considered a conversion degree. To twist the knife further this revelation was followed by a frank discussion with the States’ Careers department who advised him that even with a Masters, this was a very oversubscribed sector and in decline on the Island so he would struggle to secure a job as a physio.
Jason felt very angry and cheated having been told that he “had picked the wrong degree all those years ago” and toyed with the idea of leaving Jersey, but this still did not solve the problem of how to get the qualifications needed without finance backing.
Despite these set backs, Jason remained determined and with the guidance of the States Careers department, for whom he could not heap enough praise upon, he attended a drop in session for nursing. Suddenly his passion was renewed and a new career path was cemented. He remembers leaving the session with such a positive outlook and for the first time was made to feel that his background and education was an advantage, not a mistake.
Jason lights up when he talks about nursing and indeed anything anatomical and I’m so pleased he’s found a way to carve a new career for himself. As Jersey is desperate for nursing staff, needing around 35 over the next two years, they will support Jason’s training and education needs.
For him life is “all about job satisfaction now” and he admits that the highlight of his working days are now when he hits the books during lunchtimes for his studies, until he starts at the hospital later in the year. He is pragmatic about the changes a new role will bring; shift work, long hours, but is focused instead on being part of a large community and doing a job that will be rewarding and beneficial to others.
Everyone loves a success story, especially when it’s well deserved and Jason is proof that it can work! So if you find yourself in hospital in the near future, trust me, this is the guy you want as your nurse - because he’s fought bloody hard to get there just for you.