How to Become a Care Worker

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Are you kind and compassionate? Do you find pleasure in looking after others? Do you hate seeing people struggle alone? If yes, then this could be the role for you. There are so many people out there in urgent need of care and you could be responsible for changing their lives for the better. We can’t think of a better reason to kickstart your career in Care Work today.

What do they do?

girl with person in wheelchair

Care Workers support individuals who are in need of care due to factors such as age, disability and/or illness. They help people of all ages; from elderly people who struggle with mobility, to children with learning difficulties who struggle to communicate.

Care Workers typically spend their days (or nights) helping people who struggle to complete practical everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing and dressing. Care Workers will also provide emotional support to care receivers and their families, especially if the care receiver is suffering as a result of an illness or disability. They often work closely with families and other professionals to deliver the best care plan possible for the person in need.

The role can be carried out in a range of care settings including care homes, schools, hospitals and private housing. It’s completely up to you to choose the type of people you wish to care for and what sort of setting you’d like to work in.

What skills do I need?

The right person will:

  • Enjoy looking after others and find satisfaction in making a positive difference to people’s lives.
  • Be able to remain calm under pressure and have good problem solving skills, as sometimes those needing care can display unpredictable behaviour.
  • Understand basic first-aid and health principles as you should know how to cope if a care receiver becomes unwell or their condition deteriorates.
  • Be approachable, tactful and patient.
  • Be sociable, as you will be spending a lot of time with care receivers and their families.
  • Happily go the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of people in need.

What will I love about the job?

  • The satisfaction of knowing you are helping people live more manageable lives. You could be the ray of sunshine someone needs to get through the day.
  • The social aspect, as you will constantly be interacting with care receivers and their families.
  • Sharing your wealth of experience with the person or people you’re caring for, which can help add benefit to their lives.

What are the challenges?

There are a range of reasons why someone might need care. This can include anything from old age or disability to mental health problems, that may result in challenging behaviour. But don’t let this put you off applying for a job…

Depending on the type of care role, you will receive appropriate training on how to handle any issues that might arise, so that you can approach any situation with confidence.

How much will I earn?

The estimated starting salary for a newly qualified care worker is £14,000, potentially rising to £18,000 plus.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Care Workers have various ranks. If you’d like the chance to advance your skills, you could work towards becoming a Specialist Support Worker focusing on helping those with a specific set of needs where you can build up advanced knowledge. You could also move on to managing people and care services.

How do I get started?

Apply for a role straight away…

You do not necessarily require formal qualifications to secure a job as a Care Worker. Many hospitals, care homes or other care organisations will hire you with no previous skills and experience, and train you on the job – so there’s no reason why you can’t apply now, whatever your skill set is. You might also be offered the chance to work, whilst studying for a Health and Social Care Award alongside.

…or complete some courses before sending your application

Although care qualifications aren’t essential, many employers prefer it if you to have First Aid training and a Health and Social Care qualification before you apply for a job.

These qualifications reassure employers (and clients and their families), that you have the basic skills needed to look after vulnerable people, especially in an emergency. You will receive some further training once in the role e.g. on moving and handling patients safely, but it’s good to enter to the job with some basic knowledge that can be built on.

You can also build up experience of working with vulnerable people by volunteering to help through age or children’s charities. This can be a great way to see if being a Carer is something you enjoy doing before committing on a full-time basis. There may also be volunteering opportunities available locally in care homes or hospitals.

First Aid Training

St John’s Ambulance offer an Essential First Aid Course at 260 different locations across the country. St John’s Ambulance staff will spend three hours teaching learners how to respond to emergencies and deal with accidents and injuries. You will be taught emergency life support for adults, children and babies, including skills such as treatment of severe bleeding and chest pain, and treatment of an unresponsive casualty.

CACHE Level 3 Award in Health and Social Care

The Online Learning College offers this course to anyone who wants to start a career in Health and Social Care, including Care Work. You don’t need any previous knowledge or experience to enrol on this 180-hour course, just a willingness to learn and a passion to help people! The course will cover three units:
  • Equality, diversity and rights in health and social care
  • Human growth and development
  • Safeguarding in health and social care
It will equip you to work in a range of care settings including residential care homes, special schools and health centres. This course is accredited by Cache – the UK’s leading body in the care and education sector. Many employers specifically ask for a Cache certification when recruiting new Care Workers.
Did you find this page helpful? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at [email protected]

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