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Care worker Care assistant, support worker, nursing home assistant

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Care workers help vulnerable people to manage their daily activities and to live as independently as possible.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,500 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but you'll find it useful to have some experience in a caring role. This could be personal experience of caring for someone you know, or voluntary work with an organisation that supports vulnerable people.

You'll be working with children or vulnerable adults, so you'll need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

If you're new to adult social care in England, you'll need to gain the Care Certificate as part of a 12-week induction programme provided by your employer.

Find out more at Skills for Care.

Within 6 months of starting in children's residential care, you'll need to have or get the Level 3 Diploma for Residential Childcare or equivalent.

Find out more about the Children's homes regulations.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds
  • skills in communicating with tact and sensitivity
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure

Depending on the role, you may need to cope with challenging behaviour.

3. What you'll do

You'll be helping people in their own homes or in day centres, residential or nursing homes.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • getting to know clients and their interests and needs
  • helping with personal care like washing, using the toilet and dressing
  • food preparation, feeding and giving out medication
  • carrying out general tasks like housework, laundry and shopping
  • helping clients manage their budget, pay bills and write letters
  • supporting families to get used to new caring responsibilities
  • giving emotional and practical support to children and young people
  • working with other health and social care professionals to provide individual care and development plans
  • helping to organise leisure activities
  • going with clients to and from a residential home

4. Salary

Starter: £12,500 to £16,000

Experienced: £17,000 to £19,000

Highly Experienced: Up to £25,000 (senior care supervisor)

Free or low-cost accommodation may be provided. You may be paid more for night shifts and weekend work. Some home visit jobs may pay only for the time you spend with a client.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

In a full-time job you'll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week. You may work part-time. You could be asked to work shifts, including weekends or evenings. Depending on your role you may be expected to stay overnight on a rota basis, or live in.

The job can be physically demanding.

6. Career path and progression

You could progress to a more senior role, managing people or services.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018