What Do I Need to Start a Career in the Home Care Sector?

Working in people’s homes to provide them with the care they rely upon can be a very rewarding experience. As a care provider in Essex that has invested greatly in its staff, both in terms of ongoing training and rates of pay, we get many enquiries from people who are considering applying for care worker jobs with us but who don’t know whether they have what it will take. Of course, if you already have experience in care work – whether that’s been delivered in care recipients’ homes or not – then we would very much like to hear from you.

However, it should be said that care work can be a good career move even if you have never worked in the sector before. Everyone has to start somewhere, after all. Even more importantly, we are not simply looking at school leavers or people who are after landing their second job. Care work suits many people who have had successful careers in other sectors, like retail and office administration or customer services before, for example. This is because care work relies on many of the same interpersonal skills that those sorts of jobs demand. 

So, if you are considering embarking on a new career in care work, what are the things that we are looking for?

An Aptitude for Care Work

We don’t expect you to be the finished article in caring for others. Part of our in-house training and mentoring is due to the fact that we want to support everyone we employ to become better in what they do. Indeed, this is a career-long commitment. Just because you’ve received training in care practices doesn’t mean you won’t need to refresh your skills or learn new ways of doing things. Nothing stands still in care work for long, after all.

Therefore, we’d like to see that you have done some vocational training that shows us you’ve got the commitment to learning that modern care work requires. Ideally, you will have done a college course or two in a related area. Any courses in health, social care or childcare tend to be the things that employers are most interested in. City & Guilds courses are popular among carers because they work at multiple levels; you can work your way through while studying other subjects or holding down a job. 

Another way you can demonstrate your commitment and aptitude for care work is with an apprenticeship. Adult care worker (level 2) apprentice training courses run in many further education establishments all over the country, just the sort of thing that will make you highly employable for a career in the home care sector.

A New Career Start

Let’s say you haven’t got any relevant qualifications in care work but your past career showed you had a diligent and professional approach. If so, you can still enter the caring profession even if you’ve been out of the job market for a while. Ideally, you will have either acted as a carer yourself, perhaps offering care to a family member, or you will have undertaken some voluntary work that shows that caring work is something you are truly cut out for. Sometimes, supervised on-the-job training will be offered by care service providers to help new career starters learn the skills they’ll need. There again, part-time care worker jobs can offer enough time to gain the aforementioned qualifications in care by splitting your time between earning and learning.

A Driving Licence

Unlike nursing home care work, in-home domiciliary care means being mobile. In the vast majority of cases, this will mean a vehicle and a driving license are prerequisites. Without a driver’s licence, you are unlikely to be able to get to all the calls you need to make during the course of a working day. Remember, too, that using your car for work will mean notifying your insurer.

Personality Attributes

Finally, we should mention that entering the care profession isn’t just about what skills you have, which qualifications you are working towards and whether or not you can drive. All professional care service providers are looking for certain personality traits, as well. Trustworthiness and communicability are two important ones. Without those, care recipients won’t feel at ease in your company. You’ll also need to be diligent, organised and hard-working. Although it can be an emotionally very giving career, care work can also be demanding so you’ll need to be able to cope with whatever your day throws at you which means resilience is another key personal attribute to have!

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