A Wilderness Way
Happiness score is 52 out of 100
3.7 out of 5 stars.
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Working at A Wilderness Way: 24 Reviews

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3.8Work-life balance

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Hard work, stressful but the most rewarding role in the world

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AWW values all of its employees. Yes changes have been made and will continue to be made as they strive to be the best for thier children they look after and also their employees. People at times struggle with change and this might not be the right role for them. I've worked for AWW for 12 months . Over the last 12 months it's been hard , but if you speak up and ask for support someone will give you just that . They have a genuine passion for changing the lives of children and creating a positive journey for them. It's not an easy role but you get out what you put in. As an employee your voice matters and they listen to each and everyone of us to make working at Aww the best experience. Yes the role Is difficult and that will never change but the good times over shadow the bad and the difference you can make to our children's lives is incredible. The little things matter

Pros

Valued, good benefits, rates of pay, rewarding role

Cons

Stress, fast paced, always change
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Exhausting/more home care than outdoors

No work life balance due to travelling. They advertise for 1 place and employ you in a job miles away. Your at work on the morning of your first day off so it’s half a day by time your home. It’s not so much an outdoor activity as it says on the tin so to speak. You spend most your shifts home caring watching Netflix finding things to do in the home. colleagues are all really nice, supportive and helpful.
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Insights into A Wilderness Way

Based on 12 survey responses
What people like
  • Fair pay for job
Areas for improvement
  • Energising work tasks
  • Sense of belonging
  • General feeling of work happiness

Excellent Company who do make a difference

Work life balance excellent.Salary excellent.Homes, vehicles, equipment all there.Training and induction excellent.The company will take residents with high levels of challenging behaviour, but if you have the experience or confidence do not let this put you off. You will be supported.
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Great place to work.

I love working here. I feel supported and valued by the company however some managers may not have the time to speak about any concerns. You can progress if you want the extra responsibility
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Fantastic company! Caring and incredible management

I had the best year working for a wilderness way you are constantly supported and cared for giving you the best support you need to work with vulnerable young people which in some cases could be emotionally draining and demanding. I love this company and would still be there now if I didn’t have to relocate down south. I miss them.

Pros

Free food, Overtime, Outdoor excursions, Dogs on shift, Extensive on going training, Great management, Supervisions, In house NVQ.

Cons

Expanding fast so lots of changes in schedules and shift patterns and computer systems
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Official response from A Wilderness Way

7 April 2022
Thank you for your review, we are so pleased to read that you had the best year at AWW. We pride ourselves on our support as we recognise all our staff need to be supported so they can be at their best. We have invested in new systems to assist in the day to day work of our staff, ultimately we want to make processes more efficient so you can have more valuable time with our Children. We wish you all the best in your move down south. Thank you for all your hard work.

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Fun, rewarding and fast paced

I have worked here for around 5 months now, the induction programme is fantastic and the resources available to provide the children with high quality care and support are unrivalled. I have felt supported since commencing my employment here and the opportunity to develop with the organisation are brilliant. The staff who I have met have all been fantastic.

Pros

Market leading pay, supportive management, opportunities to develop, rewarding

Cons

Nothing major
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Stressful job but good company to work for in this line of work

Good company that invests in its employees , room for career progression and will support you in qualifications wether vocational or outdoor.Overall good experience

Pros

Salary, shift pattern, perks

Cons

Long hours, can be tiring at times
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When I started at wilderness two years ago it was great place to work , lots of support and great management,

Over the years the company growing at a fast pace to many outreach homes not enough staff to cover , lots of over time but not much work life balance if you need the money .

Pros

Food whilst on shift, lovely houses

Cons

Poor management since house managers were introduced, staff don’t get support of incidents in the home, little interaction with management and young people
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Official response from A Wilderness Way

8 February 2022
Thank you for your review and we are pleased to see you mentioned our lovely houses. We strive to create a homely environment and aim to ensure that all our homes are of the upmost highest quality possible. We want to ensure each home is welcoming for our children and a place where they truly feel safe and can make it their own. We also use the great outdoors to help with our therapeutic approach. We enjoying hearing about and seeing all the wonderful culinary creations by our children and staff, its such a fantastic activity and life skill. By launching our new Senior RSW role we have created additional direct managerial support everyday on shift.

Long days and stressful

Well paid, little support from colleagues. Has a gossip culture. Not the best place to be. Short term can be OK long term its stressful and tiring. People with hidden agendas.
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Official response from A Wilderness Way

25 January 2022
In response to your review, we are pleased to hear your comment on our salaries as we pride ourselves on offering some of the highest remuneration packages in our industry and will continue to review all salaries across the business. We have a robust support network and would hope that you raised any issues with your manager (whilst employed) and certainly during an exit interview so we could discuss them with you, communication is key. We all have our part to play in the culture and ultimately its up to each of us to change it. We aim to be as transparent and authentic as possible from day one. We want new staff to come in knowing the reality of what to expect and what is expected from them. We appreciate that being on the front line is a challenging role (notwithstanding each role has its own unique challenges) and yes some days its tiring. But hopefully with the incredible outcomes we are able to achieve, there is that reward at the end. I can certainly feel it.

Care work is challenging

I have worked at Aww for 4 months but have 12 years experience of working in Children’s residential care. This work is not for everyone and anyone who has done this type of work will understand that things change quickly in this field, Aww is no different. The homes are in remote locations, hence the name Wilderness, they’re also in various locations in Cumbria so there may be some travel to be done if you’re required to work across a number of homes, which can and most probably will happen and you will be paid your mileage if travelling elsewhere. The homes Aww has are crisis homes and take in extremely vulnerable and challenging children, this job can be extremely hard and not for the faint hearted. Do not expect to come and work here for an easy ride as that does not happen. The outcomes for the children that I have witnessed have been good and the children are at the forefront of what we do. You may get to go out and do activities but this depends on the child you are working with as they’re all individuals and we would never try to force them to do anything. We are about encouraging and nurturing. The salaries offered are the best that I have known for this line of work, there is a 2 week induction process where you will learn about the role plus a lot of other training. The company have their own in house diploma assessors who are available to help you get through the qualification if you don’t already possess one. There are opportunities to develop and progress to new roles if you choose this is what you want, you will be supported to do this. I came to work in a new - 

Pros

Salary Training Support Great outcomes for children

Cons

Can be extremely challenging Not for everyone
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The job description is a big lie

Wasn't paid fuel expenses. Wasn't paid for part of the induction training. You're made to believe that you will be doing lots of fun outdoor activities with kids, but the kids choose not to and so it doesn't happen. There's a shortage of staff.Staff are not happy. Everyone has left or is leaving. And the promise of a shift pattern of two on four off is a big fat lie. I would never be cruel enough to advise anyone to go work for them.

Pros

Time spent with children can be good, Care Staff are all really nice

Cons

Long shifts away from home, Very remote locations, Noone higher up cares if you're okay, The Children I worked with resented being kept in such remote places, Some place's would be very difficult to get to in winter month's.
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Official response from A Wilderness Way

18 November 2021
We are of course disappointed to read your review and I would encourage you to contact me on: Lucy.Owen@awwltd.com as this is not representative of our normal procedure or indeed candidates experience of us. We do pay for induction training and if applicable fuel expenses. We encourage our RSW's to work with our dedicated outdoor team to plan activities for our children. Yes, some children choose not to get involved and if that is the case, all we can do is to keep promoting them. We often find that when the child does get involved its so rewarding and a real sense of achievement. Majority of our homes run a specific rota pattern which is discussed during the recruitment process. Working with our staff we adhere to this and try to forward plan as much as possible. Notwithstanding due to the nature of the work there will always be some changes. I am proud to share that our team is growing, we have more staff now than ever before. Its a shame you feel that way about the remote locations, conversely most people are attracted by this and the children have given us overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Lost in the Wilderness

Proswhen its good, its greatgood support if you have the right managercan work with some amazing peopleConspoorly organisedthey are just filling beds, and do not take out proper checks before accepting children into the servicethey are chronically under staffed to the point where it is becoming dangerous.they can not keep hold of their experienced staff, nor do they want to, so there is no leadership, and you have new staff making critical decisions, with at risk vulnerable children.Advice to Managementlook after your experienced staff.provide proper support, not just a phone line to a outside company.accept that the talent pool is not as big as you think, and stop expanding so much.if your struggling to hire, is it because of the young people you are bringing into service, you not paying enough for the realities of the job, or both?

Pros

can be a fun place to work.

Cons

lack of support. Poor leadership from management. Rotting Houses. High risk children, and poorly trained staff.
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Really good Company who listen to staff and young people

Having a few years experience within the role , I was not new to line of work but found A Wilderness Way different , no two days are the same and the same can be said for homes , teams and young people , Going out and about and providing stimulating activities and projects for the young people Is actively encouraged. Some times can be hard ,but management do listen to any concerns you feel may need addressed and support is offered and given.The company does praise any work you may undertake above and beyond and training given and continued is really second to none . You have a chance to work with and help some amazing young people and help enrich their lives , doing fun activities or just being there , The company adopts a good stance on the right people for the job more than the right qualifications for the Job which definitely shows within the teams and the people who actually want to be there and help and support the young people .Definitely happy with joining A Wilderness Way and would recommend to anyone .

Pros

Working with amazing young people, having fun, good teams

Cons

Can be challenging sometimes
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Supported from day one

As a current employee I am happy to recommend AWW to anyone interested in joining our team.I feel fully supported by management.They listen and address concerns quickly.Proactive and forward thinking company.
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Fast pace , but highs out weigh any lows

I came to A Wilderness Way for one day a week & then that turned into 2 days and here I am 6yrs later full time!I have a very varied role within Head Office, yes it can be very fast pace & stressful, but it can also be rewarding & the highs far out weigh any lows.I know where to go if it all becomes too much & that helps, should I need talk with anyone.

Pros

Work life balance, pay, company health care plan, flexibility for home working.
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There is fun to be had

You get out, what you put in. It took me a bit of time to work out how to encourage the YP's we work with to do anything other than use their phones. I'm into all sorts and sometimes get to do my favourite pass times at work!There are hard days, but that's all part of life and the YP's we work with have had difficult times. I'm glad I get to help them be children again. The team and my manager support us when we need it.

Pros

Free meals, loads of days off, the YP's
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Exciting work place

No two days are the same and you are almost always kept busy.You typically care for 1 to 2 young people and support them day to day, including cooking for them and cleaning. You can engage in a variety of diferent activities each day, including outdoor activities.This job allows you to meet with staff and children from all over the country, and feel like you are making a difference.There is great support from home managers and registered managers and always someone there if you need them.The shifts are flexible but can be long and tiring at times.

Pros

Meals provided, sleep pay, flexible working hours

Cons

Long shifts when working with challenging young people
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Official response from A Wilderness Way

20 July 2021
Thanks you for your review, it really is appreciated you taking the time to share your experience.

Challenging but incredibly rewarding

This company isn’t like other care companies as they really make a difference to children’s lives. I worked with different children across their different houses and their approach was different and it worked. I got the support I needed from my manager and they now have a manager for every team and child which means that they can provide care that is centred around each of the children. The company really listens to their staff and when we weren’t happy with the rota they changed it to suit our team. The pay is good compared to other companies. The job can be very challenging but I got the support I needed when I needed it. I had to change jobs as I moved but I really miss them.

Pros

Company that really listens

Cons

Challenging sometimes
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No care for staff

Not supportive Only care about filling bedsDon't take concerns seriously Advice to 'reword' paperwork so it doesn't sound as badNo support for staff welfareInexperienced managers Don't like to be challenged Breach smoking policies Put staff 1-1 too often when they are paid 2-1

Pros

Salary

Cons

Will cause you nothing but stress ans anxiety unless you're a 'yes man'
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An emotional roller-coaster

Read the other reviews and learn from them.You will notice RSW's based near Carlisle were not happy, and that other roles based in Lanarkshire were positive. This has been my experience, too. The managers in Scotland were much more supportive and involved,and the people who didn't have to work overnight seemed happy enough. As a job it will give you some of the best and worst experiences of your life, and I am not exaggerating. I'd recommend it for about 1 year. Do not sign up for the nvq. Trust me on this.

Pros

Fulfilling, personal development, good training

Cons

Really bad for mental health
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Official response from A Wilderness Way

20 July 2021
Thankyou for taking the time to share this feedback with us.We’re very sorry to hear you felt it was emotional working here, but also glad the role gave you some positive experiences. We take our teams wellbeing very seriously and want to make sure we can offer the support you need. We have listened and introduced nearly 30 new home manager roles across the service’s who provide additional support to both the children in our care and our residential support workers. Perhaps, this is more in line with what you experienced in our Scotland service, as they have a different structure due to their services being a little different to Carlisle. I hope you took advantage of our Employee Assist Programme, which offers in the moment counselling for all employees, they could have referred you for further sessions if that’s what was needed.The Diploma is an essential tool for anyone coming into the sector, it helps new starters have a deeper understanding of their role and the children we work with. It is also required by legislation for staff to complete within the first 2 years.

Very Little Support

When I was offered a job with AWW, I was very excited as the company seemed very positive and strived to make a difference for their young people. However, it did not take long for me to realise that this is yet another care company who’s goal is to fill empty beds. This kind of work does have a high turnover of staff which only places more stress and pressure on core staff to fill in the gaps and work extra shifts. Don’t be fooled by the advertisement that you will be out doing fun activities nearly every day, sometimes you won’t leave the house at all which is very mentally draining. Management support is an issue unless you are a liked member of staff but you can easily figure out where you are place in the chain. I received very little support from the start and was told to get a doctors appointment and ask to be put on anxiety medication and that the job wasn’t right for me when I finally spoke up and said I was struggling. No concern or extra support was offered to me during that time. Also be aware of gossiping and cliques forming within the service you’re placed in. I have been in the company for over 2 years and didn’t even get a verbal goodbye from my manager never mind anything else.Don’t get me wrong, the job can be great at times and there are positives to the job but a lot of areas need to be worked on.

Pros

Plan down time, company benefits

Cons

Big expansion within company, poor support, no sick pay
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Official response from A Wilderness Way

6 April 2021
We are very sorry to hear you feel unsupported in your role. I can see you are a current employee and we would welcome the chance to speak with you to see what has gone wrong and what we can do to make sure you feel supported. If you don’t feel able to speak with you line manager, please contact the HR team. As part of your benefits package you have access to Employee Assistant Programme, which provides instance access to trained professionals. They can also offer you further free face to face sessions, if appropriate. If you need further help, we can refer you to Occupational Health who will advise use the best way to support your individual needs, while maintaining your privacy.We take our teams wellbeing very seriously and want to make sure we can offer the support you need. We are in the process of introducing a new structure to increase our headcount and added nearly 30 new Home Manager roles across our services. Their role will add additional support to the children who stay with us and our teams. It’s a shame you’ve not been able to get out and work with our children in the outdoors as much as you’d like. The importance of the outdoors in the care we offer is core to what we do and what makes us different. Some of our children take more persuading that others to engage with the outdoor activities. We would also encourage you to speak with your management team and our Outdoor Activities Manager, to see if they can help offer guidance to spark the interest in the child you are caring for. If you have already left, we will be in contact for an exit interview, - 

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Overall rating

Based on 25 reviews

Ratings by category

3.8 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
4.0 out of 5 stars for Salary/Benefits
3.8 out of 5 stars for Job security/advancement
3.5 out of 5 stars for Management
3.5 out of 5 stars for Culture

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