In 2015, business magazine Forbes published a top 10 list of the most meaningful occupations. Applied Behaviour Analysis (“ABA”) Therapist (sometimes called ABA Tutor in the UK) came sixth, revealing the incredible rewards on offer to those who choose this life-changing profession. When creating First Bridge Centre, we set ourselves a challenge: not only to hire the best Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs) and ABA therapists, but to create a culture and underlying training opportunities, where we could be confident we offer the best ABA Therapist jobs in London and in Europe.
So how are we doing? Opening a new Centre in London just before the COVID pandemic was a challenge. To start with, the children and families we supported were confined to their home, meaning our team invested a huge amount of time moving around London to deliver the crucial therapy and continuity of services they required. The costs of adapting to the new way of working in the pandemic and keeping our team and families safe may have been higher than anticipated but the needs of the children in our care were paramount. Each of our BCBAs tackled the technical challenges of providing remote supervision and feedback with admirable speed and our Therapists, who continued to work in the families’ homes, showed unprecedented resilience and dedication.
Through it all, our children have made significant progress, despite the many challenges of working within the home environment such as the family presence, absence of peer interaction and fewer materials, but most crucially missing the day-to-day in-person team collaboration. We listened closely to our team to understand what we could do to support their clinical practice under such unusual conditions. We knew that being able to do your job properly and to the highest standard is crucial to all professionals working in healthcare. It is even more important when you are working with vulnerable children. You are a technician, delivering treatment directly, and doing your job to the highest standards can make a real difference to a child’s life.
Our clinical leadership team is committed to making sure First Bridge Centre invests more in training and development of staff than any other provider in the UK. Most of our therapy staff have a clinical background from the outset, but we are particularly looking for education professionals with Early Years and SEN experience who would consider a move onto a clinical career path. We believe having a degree in psychology, linguistics, early childhood development or similar is an asset but at the ABA Therapist level, we are dedicated to training and developing each individual team member as they embark on a career centred on the science of behaviour analysis.
Our Therapists receive their Registered Behavior Therapists® (RBTs) qualification once they commence their employment with us, but we are always on the lookout for experience in Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI), ideally with experience working with children between the ages of 16 months to five years. For BCBA roles, we expect experience conducting the VB-MAPP (Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program, developed by Dr. Mark Sundber), as establishing a robust culture of assessment is central to the First Bridge approach.
We recognise how important it is to create a new benchmark for ABA-led intervention in the UK, where the highest quality of provision it is not yet mainstream due to the lack of centre-based provisions. We pay for the training, supervision, and exam costs for RBT credentialing, as well as all the mandatory training to be able to work with children in an Ofsted registered setting. Ofsted is the inspectorate of education settings in England and provides safeguarding oversight. We invest in mandatory training for our staff covering all areas of safeguarding, including first aid, health and safety, fire safety, and others.
Once our staff reach RBT certification, we provide ongoing supervision as required by the credential, plus opportunities for professional development through our chosen partner Central Reach. We are also developing career paths suited to the UK context, where social care, clinical care, and education overlap in ways that are unique to this market. We are keen to provide supervision to therapists who wish to work towards becoming a BCBA, and beyond that, we are dedicated to creating long-term career opportunities for all our team so we can to continue to deliver the highest quality provision in our future centres.
We follow a typical educational convention of using an “inset” day, where the Centre is closed, to allow the staff to focus on training and development, as well as a minimum of three hours per month for departmental meetings and other professional development.
Unique to First Bridge Centre is our approach to interdisciplinary working, with each child’s programme designed by a team that draws on applied behaviour analysis, alongside speech and language therapy. The prime beneficiaries of the First Bridge Centre approach of course are the children and their families, but we recognise the huge advantage in experience this provides for our staff, and we intend to make this central to our approach as it develops in future years.
Client outcomes are directly tied to the training, supervision, and professional development of our clinical team. We believe it is essential that we provide the foundational knowledge of RBT training and coach each of our therapists through the accreditation process and their career with us. It speaks to our standards for clinical quality and the client’s right to receive excellent clinical services. For our team, it opens their horizons, building their understanding of the field of behaviour analysis, and providing them with an inspiring opportunity to build a lifelong career with us. We want our staff to stay with us for the long term, recognising how important that is for the children in our care.
We have chosen to live up to the argument made by Forbes: a career with First Bridge Centre is one of the most rewarding you could possibly imagine.
We are currently hiring for roles across First Bridge Centre – please visit our LinkedIn Jobs page for details