So You Want to Become a Care Worker: What to Think About Next

So you want to become a care worker? That’s great, but why, when or what should you consider before joining the industry?

Elderly Care Services

In the UK today, there are over 1.34 million social care workers [1] – that’s an incredibly huge amount of adults who are choosing a health and social career. For obvious reasons like the rewarding element, becoming a carer is a great career choice, but starting out in the industry might be a minefield with lots of providers offering different advice.

Here is what you should consider and think about before becoming a care worker:

What qualifications and training will I need to become a carer?

The core quality needed to be a care worker is passion for the job by a demonstrated desire to want to look after other people. Many people go into care after looking after a family member themselves or seeing a loved one looked after and wanting to give back, or being disheartened by seeing a bad care service and wanting to do better. Others are people who want to make sure people who need it have the best care and services possible. It’s important to remember that whatever your reason or journey, you are embarking on a selfless and rewarding career, where the best qualification you can have is passion.

How can you prove you have passion for this industry? Well, there are millions of voluntary and paid work jobs in care that will help you make a start in the field. A receptionist job in a local residential home will help you grasp the daily process and life in a care home for example. Volunteering to help out at events or spend a few hours with local care providers each week is also a good way to get a feel for how things are run and give you a chance to learn first hand how to handle personal care for patients.

The good news is that most of the technical qualifications like NVQs, BTEC or Cache are possible to study at the same time as working in care. This gives you the chance to learn and be hands-on and practical at the same time. Any qualifications in health and social care beforehand are a bonus – some providers may want this as a basic entry level or require those NVQs, so you will need to research your chosen provider beforehand – but as a minimum, all care providers will expect you to have a proficient level of numeracy and literacy to meet the expectations associated with paperwork, administration and instruction.

What type of person makes a great care worker?

The flexibility, variety and changeability of caring for another person means this role is very suited to someone who is adaptable. If you like working with people and enjoy interaction with others, but aren’t worried about the confinement of routine, then a care role would be ideal. Even more so with a provider that offers care in the home, like Abbots, where you would be visiting new homes and people each day and you can benefit from a change of scenery than restriction to a residential care setting.

Resilience is key. When working with children with disabilities or adults with physically or mentally limited conditions for example, frustration can present itself in uncomfortable ways. There may be days where you might feel unappreciated, but a solid understanding that this is not personal, and is often just the reaction of the individual to their situation is important. More often than not, care workers receive endless gratitude, smiles and daily thanks, but like any career, it can have more challenging moments.

A great care worker will be someone who is able to see the positive in every situation. Being able to walk into the home of an elderly person and help them with medication and personal care with a happy, positive attitude will make that small engagement a million times better for the individual and their own independence, happiness and approach. 

Care work in 2019 and beyond; how will being a care worker change in the future?

With an ageing population in the UK, rise in dementia and other neurological conditions, and the increasingly flexible working lifestyle, care is a growing industry in the UK. Modern families are less obliged these days to arrange for loved ones to stay in a residential home or in care in a hospital bed, and may just need a little support with care at home instead.

This changing structure has already reinvented care as we know it means more possibilities are created to keep individual independence whilst receiving care. At Abbots we focus on offering care in the home for this very reason; to allow people to maintain their most normal, comfortable life as possible, in their most familiar environment.

Not so long ago a live-in carer might have been considered odd or unnecessary, yet we now see structures where carers can have several patients to look after and visit during the day, as well as respite and part-stay care. With the influx of technology, and it becoming increasingly integrated in the industry over the past few years, it is likely to streamline this service even further to offer the best service.

Texting a carer for last minute help with a disabled child, or leaving medical reports in an app will only make the mundane or more difficult parts of a carer’s day even more streamlined. In the future, we can expect to see care work continue to evolve further to offer the patients the absolutely best service.

Being a carer at Abbots is like being part of a big family. Having started back in 1995, we still believe the experience and care really comes down to the one-on-one contact between the individual and the carer. We invest heavily in our 500+ team to ensure they are fully supported, trained, valued and equipped to deal with all the challenges a role like this can offer. We are always looking for enthusiastic and passionate people to join our team and play a part in offering the best care services in the South-East.

Take a look at our current vacancies or to get in touch today to join abbots for a rewarding and fulfilling care career.

[1] – https://www.nao.org.uk/report/the-adult-social-care-workforce-in-england/

“I have had personal experience of the standard of care and humanity Abbots carers demonstrate. Last Friday I tripped and fell, hitting my head on the pavement. An Abbots Care worker saw me on the ground and came over to assist me and was then followed by another care worker. They were both very kind and reassuring and carried out First Aid before calling an ambulance crew to check me out as I had a large graze to my head, and the bridge of my nose was cut from my glasses, and was obviously shaken. Another care worker assisted me up and I was taken to their office to wait for the Paramedics. It is so important to mark when you find kindness in people and I know that the tenants at Chilton Green are in very good hands. The lady I visited today told me ‘the girls are my life’.”

Community Officer

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