Care worker

Care workerYou’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.

  • Support workers might provide additional help such as advice about housing, learning life skills such as cooking or budgeting and providing emotional support and befriending.

  • Shared lives carers welcome vulnerable people into their own home or stay with individuals in their own home and care for them there. This could be on a long or short term basis – you might offer weekend respite care or provide support during the day or night.

  • Personal assistants tend to employed directly by an individual who decides what they want you to help them with. You could be asked to help them get ready on a morning, go to work or University, do household tasks such as cleaning and cooking, do social activities and attend appointments. 

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:

  • supporting people with social and physical activities
  • booking and going with people to appointments
  • helping with personal care such as support with showering and dressing
  • supporting people with eating and drinking
  • monitoring individuals’ conditions by taking their temperature, pulse, respiration and weight, and possibly helping with medication.

 

Everyone working in social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills including team work and problem solving skills. What core skills do I need to work in social care outlines some of the skills you need and has short activities to help you think about transferable skills from your previous experiences.

There are also some specific skills needed to work in this role. These include:

  • the ability to work on your own initiative and prioritise your workload
  • good listening and communication skills
  • the ability to understand and follow policies and procedures
  • good writing skills to fill in care plans.

You don’t necessarily need any qualifications to become a care worker. What’s really important is that you have the right values and behaviours to work in social care.

Your employer might ask that you have qualifications showing good English and number skills such as GCSE A-C in English and maths. It might also be helpful to have a social care qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care, but you can do these once you’re in the job.

It might be useful to have experience working in a similar role or with vulnerable adults. You could gain this experience through a work placement, from your personal life, through volunteering or as part of a traineeship or apprenticeship.

If you’re interested in working as a care worker, there’s lots of advice about finding a role on the Starting your career page. You could look online or in your local newspaper to find vacancies, or you might want to contact local care providers to ask them directly.

You could also apply to do an apprenticeship as a care worker. You can find out more about social care apprenticeships, including a link to live vacancies, on the Thinking of doing an apprenticeship page.

 

When you start in your role you’ll do an induction which should include the Care Certificate; these are the minimum standards that everyone working in social care needs to know.  

It might also include training necessary for your role such as health and safety, first aid and moving and handling, or specific training such as autism awareness, communication skills or working with people with dementia.

When in your role you could do a vocational qualification such as a Diploma in Health and Social Care or a continuing professional development qualification such as dementia, end of life or autism care.

Your employer might pay for you to do these qualifications (they could apply for the Workforce Development Fund to help), or you could apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to pay for them yourself.

There may be opportunities to progress into management roles or you might choose to go into other roles such as an advocacy worker, personal assistant or rehabilitation worker. You might also choose to go to University to become a social worker or occupational therapist. Read more on the Job roles in social care page.