Each month, we’ll be featuring a profile from the current Direction magazine to give you some insight into local career options.
Dr Darren Bowring
Senior Behaviour Adviser, Positive Behaviour Support Team, Government of Jersey
The day typically starts checking emails, meeting with my team and reviewing behavioural data or reports. I can then be out on appointments in schools, family homes or care settings. This involves capturing data to help understand why challenging behaviour is occurring, working with people to develop intervention plans or monitoring how they are working. In an afternoon I may be delivering a training course or engaged in research and preparing a paper for publication.
How did you get your job?
I was working in education in the UK with children with emotional and behavioural issues. I had never been to Jersey before my interview! There was a desire in Jersey to return people placed off island for behavioural treatment, to avoid sending people away from their families like many authorities were doing in the UK, and to close institutional care settings. I wanted to help make this a reality which we have done very successfully.
What motivates you in this role?
Achieving positive behaviour change and seeing people and families enjoying life is hugely rewarding. Whilst Positive Behaviour Support is based on the science of behaviour analysis, it is an ethical framework model. We avoid using punishment and teach skills to replace problem behaviour. We improve environments and work to improve people’s quality of life and the people around them.
Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role?
Positive Behaviour Support is an evidenced-based science where you are constantly learning. I am an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research at the University of Warwick. The research we are doing in Jersey is leading the way in Positive Behaviour Support development which I will be presenting at international conferences.
What are the three most important skills required for your role?
Communication skills: Presenting research to academics, data to professionals, advise families and work with people who may not have verbal skills.
Being analytic: Collating behavioural data to assess its causes and maintaining factors.
Empathy: Supporting people who can be struggling or in distress.
What advice would you give someone interested in a career in
Get experience working or volunteering in care, education or charity settings – Mencap and Autism Jersey would be good organisations to contact. Think about helpful subject areas in education like psychology. A behaviour adviser would be required to hold a master’s degree in a relevant subject area so university courses would be required.