Care assistants or care workers provide support to those requiring special care, including the elderly and people with disabilities.
It can be a rewarding career, as you are given the opportunity to improve the lives of others. However, the job has many challenges that not everyone will be able to deal with effectively.
Find out below if you have what it takes to become a care assistant.
The estimated starting salary for a care assistant is £14,000, while those more experienced can receive £18,000. Care assistants can progress to specialist support workers during their career and earn up to £24,000.
When working in community and residential environments, shifts are rostered and can provide flexibility. This may suit people who have additional commitments during the work week or are looking for more casual work.
What does being a care assistant involve?
Care assistants provide personal, emotional and physical support within homes or residential care units to people who require assistance with day to day living.
Depending on the level of care required, daily tasks can involve shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, dressing and feeding. In addition, clients are often monitored for any significant changes in physical and mental health.
It is sometimes also necessary to liaise and coordinate with family members and health care professionals.
As a care assistant, you will be responsible for maintaining a safe and encouraging environment and improving the quality of life of your clients.
What qualities should I have?
Friendliness and a caring nature are musts, as this role involves supporting others and making them feel happy and secure.
When looking after elderly or disabled individuals, trustworthiness and responsibility are incredibly valued traits. As you may be required to take care of things such as appointments and sticking to regular medication times, it is important that you can be relied upon.
Carers should also be respectful and sensitive to the values, feelings and experiences of clients. Being patient will also help to grow your bond over time and avoid any frustration. These characteristics will ensure that everyone is comfortable and supported.
Most care assistants possess a passion for helping and connecting with people, and have often played a supportive and caring role for family members in the past.
How do I become qualified?
Vocational training courses in individual support, community services and social care will build the foundations for this career path and develop the entry-level skills necessary for gaining employment.
Work placements can also be valuable in order to gain a real understanding of the job and the industry. Additionally, future employers will have confidence in you when you can show you have hands-on experience.