My Rainbow Journey

Here is the story about how I began working at Rainbow

Vicki Palmer,

Operational Lead and Behaviour Support Practitioner

Hi, my name is Vicki and here is my story all about my Rainbow journey, from degree’s to previous job roles all the way up and how I met Natalie.

I started university in 2010 doing BSc Psychology with Philosophy with no real clue of what I wanted to do in life, all I knew was that I had an interest in Psychology. In my late teens/early twenties I switched from wanting to be a Speech and Language therapist, to a Clinical Psychologist to many, many other professions too. Once I had finished my undergraduate degree, I made the decision to gain some work experience in different areas to see what I preferred and what I wanted to pursue a career in.

In 2013 when I left university, I started working in a medium secure mental health hospital as a support worker, primarily working with adult males with a diagnosis of personality disorder.

I always knew I wanted to go back to university to do a master’s degree, so whilst at this job I began looking at courses. I still wasn’t sure on what I wanted to do but the course Health Psychology stood out to me and piqued my interest. I decided to apply but thought I still needed a bit of extra time out of education and so I deferred it for a year. In 2015 I decided it was time to try out something different and move on from the mental health hospital. Although the job was good and I learned a lot and gained a huge amount of experience, it was time gain experience in other areas to help make my mind up on what I wanted to do. That is when I got a job with a learning disability and autism care provider, I quickly realised that although I still wasn’t 100% sure in what I wanted to do, I knew this was the area I wanted to work in as I absolutely loved it!

I remained in this job for the next 6 and a half years, working in various roles. I first started out as a support worker, directly supporting individuals, doing shift work, working evenings, weekends, sleeps, the lot! It was during this role that I began my 2-year part-time Masters course in Health Psychology. A year into being a support worker, I knew I wanted to make more of a career out of what I was doing. I was lucky enough to be accepted for the position of PBS practitioner, within the central support team.

I did this role for the next 3 years. It was through this role that I met Natalie. Natalie was working as a consultant at a different company and consulted into the company I worked at to complete assessments on the people we were supporting. I then help to implement the Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)  strategies that she recommended. Working so closely with Natalie, we soon became close colleagues and we kept in touch when she left her position and set up Rainbow Behavioural Therapies in 2018.

Also, during this time as a PBS practitioner, I completed the BTEC level 4 in Positive Behaviour Support as well as attending the BILD CAPBS PBS Positive Behaviour Coaches Programme. Although I loved this role and it was exactly what I wanted to be doing, I knew that I was very limited on how I was going to progress as there were no positions higher than what I was doing at the company I was at. So, I made the huge decision to completely switch from a clinical route to a managerial one and I became a Team Leader. I started off with a small service of 3 people supported and 9 staff members for the first 18 months, and then I changed to a bigger service of 6 people supported and 15 staff members. Although I absolutely LOVED my staff team and the people I was supporting, and much to my surprise I enjoyed being a team leader much more than I ever thought I would, my heart was never set on solely being a manager and I missed my previous role, I missed the clinical and PBS side of things. The company I was at, however, had no further positions and so I was unable to progress and advance my skills as I hoped to do. So, I made one of the toughest decisions I have probably ever had to make, I decided to leave that company. 

I then started working in an alternative education provision within a mainstream school in Manchester. I was excited for this new and challenging role but something did not fit.

In December 2021 I met up for a catch-up walk and brew with Natalie. She explained a role she was considering advertising at Rainbow, and it was exactly what I had always dreamed of! A mixture between being an Operational Lead; managing and supporting the staff team and clients and supporting with admin tasks and also being a Behaviour Support Practitioner; working clinically with support teams to increase people’s quality of life. It was the perfect combination of my two previous roles, with the added extra of having Natalie as my boss! Someone who will teach, train and support me and, who will provide me with the opportunity to gain experience and enhance my skills in all the areas I am interested in. 

I am now three months into my Rainbow journey and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am completing additional trainings and I am part of some very exciting projects that Rainbow is involved in! I am so excited for what the future will bring, and I cannot wait to watch and also be a part of the growth of Rainbow Behavioural Therapies.

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