Your guide to getting a job in care working.
Those who wish to become care workers often do so because they have a strong vocational calling, and this is particularly true of those who enter the field in order to work with disabled children: a notoriously challenging speciality that requires a truly special character. So, what do prospective candidates need to know about breaking into the world of care working?
Starting in Care Working
People are often recognised as carers by public support programs and this is often how carers get their start in the field, as they develop a more honed passion for the field as a whole. What is important to note here is that there is no national standards in terms of education required for care workers. Often, care workers are hired based on their personalities, professional ethics, and glowing references from previous employers. It is also important for candidates to have a clean criminal record, as a CRB check will be carried out. Any severe crimes that would potentially endanger children, such as violent crimes or theft, might endanger a candidate’s chance of becoming a professional care worker.
Before getting involved in the field, there may be a few prerequisite courses that candidates can expect to bear the cost of. These might include First Aid, CPR, Manual Handling; Workplace Safety (CSCS Valid) and Hygiene. However, these are not universal standards and some care agencies may not require these of their candidates. It is therefore important for prospective care workers to contact their preferred agencies in order to enquire about these prerequisite certifications as they may not necessarily be required.
After candidates have been hired for the job, they will receive the training necessary in order to work with disabled children and may even be dispatched to a few general care cases in order to build up their interpersonal skills, before tackling the challenges that disabled children pose to carers. It is also not unusual for candidates to be put towards a Level 2 NVQ in Health and Social Care as a part of their training programme, which will be employer sponsored and candidates are unlikely to bear any of the cost associated with them. However, there may be incidental costs associated with taking this course, such as transport to the host college, and meals, that are not often employer sponsored. These details will be worked out with the hiring agency when candidates are put forward for the course.
Induction courses are not all that unusual for those interested in working with disabled children. Candidates are likely to be dispatched to cases of increasing difficulty in order to gauge their responses to the field and how they work under pressure. These inductions will develop personal safety and communication skills. It is also normal for candidates to be dispatched to common, healthy clients requiring simple routines in order to become more fluent in the world of professional care working.
While registering with a care agency to become a care worker is the most common step that candidates take in the United Kingdom, it is not the only means of becoming a professional carer. Candidates can seek private positions directly with clients as a means of becoming a carer, which could ultimately end up with them securing themselves a better rate of pay. However, there are tax implications associated with this and carers may be required to make their own National Insurance contributions when working under this sort of arrangement.
Another option is to work as a paid personal assistant or care worker for someone. This may be a position you have seen advertised locally, or it could be that you are caring for a neighbour or a relative you do not live with. In these circumstances your wage may be paid out of the cared-for person’s direct payments, therefore making you their employee. For more details, see our page on Direct Payments.
If you do not want to start a career in care but would still like to be involved in this area of work, you could consider volunteering. Your local volunteer bureau should be able to provide you with information about opportunities in your area.
For careers advice and guidance on becoming a professional care worker, you can contact the Careers Advice Service on 0800 100 900 or visit the Skills for Care Career Pathway website.