Childcare

Care worker

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

Annual Salary

£12,500 to £25,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

What's it all about?

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

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

College

You could take a college course, which may help when you look for work. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 Diploma in Care

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an adult care worker intermediate apprenticeship or a lead adult care worker advanced apprenticeship.

There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Volunteering and experience

You could do voluntary work with an organisation that supports vulnerable people.

Do-it has more information on voluntary opportunities in your area.

Direct application

You could apply directly and do training while in the job. You'll find it useful to have experience of working with people.

Some employers may expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications.

Further information

Time spent caring for someone you know also counts as having experience in a caring role.

You can find out more about careers in care from Think Care Careers and Social Care TV.

£12,500 to £25,000

Starter salary: £12,500 to £16,000

Experienced salary: £17,000 to £19,000

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.

35 to 40

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.

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

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Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • a desire to help people
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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