You’ll support people with all aspects of their day to day living, including social and physical activities, personal care, mobility and meal times.
Care workers can work in a care home, in people’s own homes or in the community. Care workers who work in the community are sometimes called domiciliary carers which often involves travelling to different people’s houses.
Other similar roles might include a support worker, shared lives carer and personal assistant.
You could work with lots of different people including adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, substance misuse issues mental health conditions and older people.
Your role might include:
In the majority of cases, there won’t be any requirements to have academic qualifications like GCSEs, A-Levels or degrees. However, most employers would prefer you to have some First Aid skills and an NVQ in Health and Social Care, Levels 2 and 3.
These courses would prepare you to work in Adult Social Care, teaching you to support individuals with learning difficulties and awareness of dementia. Care Workers often need to travel to many locations within the day, therefore you’ll also need an EU driving license.
Beyond these qualifications, experience is crucial; so securing volunteer work will pay off in the long run. You’ll also need background checks, such as a medical check and a criminal record check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
As an alternative route into care working, some individuals train through an apprenticeship care scheme, where you’d train as a care assistant for around £6-7 per hour.
Once you begin life as a Care Worker, you’ll be provided with some training in food hygiene, health and safety. This will include elements of first aid and how to move people safely, particularly if working on your own.
You’ll also have to take part in a 12-week induction scheme. This ensures you’l meet the national minimum standards of care in the UK and covers elements such as equality, inclusion, safeguarding, health and safety and different aspects of support you need to provide.
Working with a mix of children, vulnerable adults and elderly individuals will mean no day is the same.
You’ll need to ensure that you are capable of being flexible, and be ready for the unknown. Where you work will entirely depend on your employer. However, you could work at your client’s home, day centres, sheltered housing or nursing homes. Some of the tasks you’ll be involved in are:
There’s many opportunities to develop once you’ve gained enough experience in the field. Many Care Workers go into the local authority’s social service department, voluntary charity positions or the private sector where they offer care services. Within these positions, many move up to senior Care Workers, Shift Supervisors, Management or specialise in a specific field.
This career is very rewarding, offering a chance to really make a difference to people’s lives that really need the support. You won’t be cooped up in an office environment; instead, you’ll be able to travel to various places in the day and meet different people.
You’ll find that after a couple of months of working for specific clients that they become a lot more receptive to you and break down their barriers and want to chat more, which means your day will become much more enjoyable.
Well, you will have to face some quite challenging situations, which isn’t for the faint-hearted. You need to be able to deal with taking patients to the toilet, changing their clothes and ensuring they are washing properly.
Also, when you first start on a job you may find the individual doesn’t want you there and is being forced to have you assist them. As such, they may be hostile towards you at times. This is why you need to stay strong-willed and enthusiastic on every visit. It’s often nothing to do with you, so don’t take it personally!
A successful Care Worker is one that’s positive and willing to get stuck into everyday tasks. Being a Care Worker is a truly rewarding job that can lead into a long-term, stable career. A friendly, approachable, reliable and understanding approach that is non-judgmental will be crucial for you to succeed in this role.
Check out our list of Care Worker jobs, to help improve your understanding of the skills and qualifications needed.