The Rickter Scale: worth its weight in gold

Last week I delivered training to Extern Recycle in Northern Ireland and while there I met a gentleman who shared his thoughts on Rickter with me. He has previously represented service users and Extern Recycle by speaking at a conference and what follows are his words, thoughts and feelings:

“My name is Hugh Graham. I am originally from Newtownards, but have been living in Centenary House which is a Salvation Army hostel since the 2nd June 2010; this was following the death of my mother.

At this time I had depression; I’d been kicked down by everybody so much so that my confidence had been torn apart. I had no motivation; I was drinking heavily and couldn’t see a way out of my situation at the time.

Then, I heard about Extern Recycle from other residents within the hostel who were attending and I thought I would see what it was like.

Following speaking to my key worker an arrangement was made to visit the site. During the tour I seen the Catering and French polishing departments and thought I would like to give them a try, so started my time with Extern Recycle on the 8th July 2010.

During my first few days I felt a little unsure of myself, like a fish out of water. With the support of the staff and other service users I began to make head way. I had my first Rickter meeting, where my supervisor explained the process; she showed me the Rickter Scale® and explained we would meet regularly on a 1-2-1 basis. My supervisor asked ‘where would you like to be in the future?’ This question stumped me for a few moments and I began to realise that here was being presented a chance to change things around. I had done general kitchen work before so why not further this line of career.

I was maybe a little unsure at the start, but after a few Rickter meetings I knew of where I wanted to be.

Through time my confidence started growing, I started taking on additional responsibilities and felt more confident about myself and my future. I got a real boost from looking back and seeing how far I had come on the Rickter Scale®. Having the 1-2-1 Rickter time with my supervisor meant I could build a better rapport more quickly with her. This process made me feel part of something and that I was doing something worthwhile, not only for myself, but for the other service users in my department.

To date, I have completed my manual handling, food hygiene and health and safety certificates. I have only 2 units left to complete my NVQ 2 in Professional Cookery. I attended courses in ‘realising my potential’ and life skills. Just the other weekend I was rock climbing, abseiling and dangled from a high wire, all part of a weekend away with other residents from the hostel. I have gained a work placement within a busy kitchen, this is giving me hands-on experience which will hopefully help in my job search.

I had the opportunity of a getting a house and I took it, I moved out of the hostel last Tuesday. I am continuing to look for full-time permanent employment in catering (hint, hint, guys).

I am now a lot more confident, a year ago I would never imagined being up here for a start. In fact you couldn’t have paid me to stand up here, but now I’m more self assured and more assertive, I have an ambition and a goal to aim for and the confidence in myself now to achieve it. I’ve realised that I don’t need drink to help me to get there.

The Rickter Scale® is worth its weight in gold, it’s a double boost to look back and see the marked improvement people make in themselves.

Before, when I was knocked back, say, at a job interview, I would have been annoyed and angry. Now I know its part and parcel of the way forward in life so I don’t look back but keep trying. If you fall of a horse you don’t just lie there, you get back on the horse.

It has helped me to get my life back on track and I hope it will go on to help many other people in a similar situation.

Thank you for your time and I appreciate your attention.

By the way, my C.V will be handed out after this presentation and all job offers will be gratefully accepted!  Thanks.”

I personally would like to thank Hugh for being such an advocate of the Rickter Scale® and in his own unique way, for breaking down barriers for other people who are feeling low in confidence and self esteem, perhaps encouraging them to take a chance on something that is going to help them make a change in their lives.

Nan Wood