A FORMER pipe layer who switched careers to become a carer is fronting a national campaign which aims to change perceptions about the caring profession.

Mark Snowdon, from Spennymoor, used to work in construction but gave up the job to become a support worker.

After studying sports and exercise development at university, Mr Snowdon went into construction and worked with water companies for four years.

Eight years ago he rerouted his career path and became a support worker.

The 39-year-old said: "In care I feel as if I am really making a difference. I am very content and proud of what I do.”

He is now the face of a national campaign for Dimensions UK, a charity which employs and trains carers to support adults with autism and learning disabilities.

A survey by the charity found that most professional carers are happy in their jobs most of the time– 77 per cent compared to the national average of 23 per cent– and feel care work has an undeserved bad reputation.

Employers in the sector often struggle with recruitment, which is expected to get worse after Brexit.

Support workers who had moved from another sector– particularly hospitality, sales and call centres, office, retail and trade– far preferred supporting adults with learning disabilities and autism to their previous job.

Over three quarters of respondents felt they had learned key skills as a support worker– improving their medical knowledge, problem solving skills, creativity and patience– and said they felt valued by the person they worked for.

Mr Snowdon, a dad-of-three, added: “I love the variety of what I do now.

“Some days I’m in an office, others training people in how to use sign language, other days I’m caring for people. And that can mean swimming, walking in forests, national parks, along the beach, going to the cinema. There is nothing mundane about my job.

“I really do love my work. When I tell people what I have done in my day they say ‘that’s not a job’. I laugh and tell them ‘well it’s my job’. I’m supporting someone to do things they want to do.”

He describes his job as ‘fun, challenging and rewarding'.