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Social care

Residential support worker

Residential support workers look after the physical and mental wellbeing of children or vulnerable adults in care.

Annual Salary

£17,000 to £27,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

41 to 43 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on a rota

8%
Future employment

There will be 8% more Residential support worker jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks might include:

  • checking residents’ needs and progress
  • providing physical care, which could include bathing, toileting, dressing and feeding
  • providing one-to-one counselling or group therapy sessions
  • teaching daily living skills like budgeting, shopping and claiming benefits
  • providing leisure and creative activities in a safe and supportive setting
  • helping residents to deal with problems and become independent
  • talking with residents' families and arranging family and home visits

Working environment

You could work in the community or at an adult care home.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
College

You could take a course at college, for example:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 GCSE in Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce
  • Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice

Many courses include work placements, so this could be a good way for you to get experience.

For more information
Apprenticeship

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information
Work

Some social care employers will be more interested in your work and life experience than formal qualifications, and you can get these whilst working. You can start working as a support worker in:

  • a children's home
  • a care home
  • a hostel

Volunteering and work experience

You can get voluntary experience in a number of ways like:

  • volunteering at a youth club
  • having personal experience of caring for a family member
  • doing voluntary work in a care home, nursery or relevant charity

Direct application

To apply directly for jobs in residential support, you'll need paid or voluntary experience in the social work and care sector.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a residential support worker from Think Care Careers.

With experience, you could take on more responsibility as a senior support worker or manager.

You could also train as a social worker.

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
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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