Starting a Career in Care in England

Care Careers Tips

Have you been thinking about starting a career in care? The social care sector is wide ranging, with different specialties and types of work, as well as great opportunities for progression. Over the course of this article we will introduce you to the role of a care assistant and the types of skills, experience, and qualifications that make someone suited to this type of work.

If you’re interested in a career in care and want to explore roles available now, click here.

What is a care assistant?

In short, the role of a care worker is to provide support and enhance their clients quality of life.

On a day to day basis, your responsibilities will vary depending on your clients needs. You may be providing support with eating and drinking, or assisting with shopping and domestic duties. You may be supporting clients with mobility such as assisting with standing, moving or dressing, or you may be providing personal care, such as assisting clients to use the bathroom and take care of their personal hygiene.

The role of a care worker varies from client to client, day to day. You can find out more about the role of a care assistant here, and what it takes to become a care assistant here.

There are many different types of care and therefore many different paths you can take in your care career. These include:

  • Domiciliary care: Looking after people in their own homes/community.
  • Clinical care: Proving more specialised levels of care for people with specific medical conditions.
  • Extra care: A more intensive type of residential care. Service users are still in their own home, but it is within a unit or building dedicated to providing care for a number of individuals. Often they will have communal areas to allow people to socialise.
  • Assisted living: These facilities are much like Extra Care Units in that they provide housing and support for adults with disabilities and additional needs who cannot, or choose not, to live alone.
  • End-of-life care: Providing care to those who are at the end of their lives either due to age or illness, but wish to remain in their own or a family home, or within a hospice.
  • Care for children: Offering supportive care for children who are living with illnesses or disabilities and their families. This type of care often has a cross over with clinical due to the types of care some children may require.

The most common type of care Cera currently provides is domiciliary care, however, this is growing and changing continuously. Domiciliary care is the service put in place to support an individual in their own home, to enable them to maintain their independence and quality of life. This matches perfectly with Cera’s own values.

What skills and experience are needed to become a care assistant in England?

Working in social care requires you to be kind, compassionate and most importantly - want to help others. Here at Cera we have a wide range of entry-level care assistant roles. This means you do not need any prior experience to start your new career and can even apply skills learnt from life and other roles to becoming a carer. At Cera, we provide training to help you develop your professional skills, alongside the soft skills you already have.

Soft skills, sometimes referred to as ‘people skills’ are things like:

  • Communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Social skills
  • Empathy
  • Team work
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem solving skills
  • Adaptability

If you’d like to read more about the transferable skills you may already have, click here.

A career as a Healthcare Assistant can suit those from all walks of life. Whether you are new into the world of work, wanting a career change, or even a parent that requires flexibility in your working life, this is a career that can work around you.

Many of those in retirement decide to return to work for a variety of reasons. We spoke to Myra who said. “I would be bored if I gave up working full-time. It’s such a rewarding job and I get up every day, looking forward to working and making a difference in the lives of others.”

Here at Cera we also provide opportunities to expand your knowledge and gain qualifications. You'll have the opportunity to work towards recognised industry qualifications, and we have several career progression paths available. Hear from our very own Lucy Kruyer, who shares how she went from Care Assistant to Branch Manager.

There are many qualifications that are relevant to a career in care. You may already have one (or more!) of these qualifications, or wish to work towards them in the future:

  • Health and Social Care (NVQ, BTEC, Degree etc.)
  • Adult Care (Diploma levels 2, 3 and 4)
  • Leadership Management for Adult Care
  • First Aid Training
  • Food Hygiene
  • Save A Life / CPR Training

So you might be starting to think that care sounds like a great career path for you. But how is it regulated and how can you use that knowledge to help you find the perfect role?

Who regulates care providers in England?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was established in 2009 to regulate and inspect health and social care providers in England. The CQC ensures care services provide safe, effective and high quality care. They are responsible for registering care providers, inspecting and rating services and protect the rights of vulnerable people.

When doing an inspection, the CQC have revealed they ask the same five questions:

  • Are they safe?
  • Are they effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people's needs?
  • Are they well-led?

Before an inspection is due, the CQC will phone to announce the inspection and a letter will be sent to confirm the date. They will ask for some information and documentation to be prepared for the inspection. The registered manager will then arrange a practice walk-through ahead of the appointment, to check the general appearance and organisation of the area, ensure all health and safety standards are met, patient information areas are clean and clearly displayed, the security of the practice and stock is controlled and in-date.

So how does understanding the CQC help you to find a good provider to work with? You can look up all care providers and care homes on the CQC website and discover the latest inspection ratings and reports of your local ones.

This can help you to discover whether they would be a good fit for you and understand a little more about the services they offer.

Benefits of being a care assistant in England:

Alongside the daily rewarding nature of being a Care Assistant, there are also many benefits when choosing this career path.

You will be able to apply for a Blue Light Card. This card provides those within the social care sector with discounts online and in-store. The Blue Light Card offers discounts from national retailers to local businesses in a huge range of categories including holidays, cars, days out, fashion, insurance, phones and more.

Here at Cera, we provide a great opportunity to earn extra income through our Care Friends referral scheme, where you can earn points for every person you refer to us. You can choose to cash these points out for a cash reward and add to your earnings.

A huge benefit of working in care that appeals to many of our care workers, is the ability to fit your career around your personal and family life. Find out more about why working in care is the perfect career option for parents, or, if you’re a pet-parent, maybe you’d love the chance for your furry friend to join you in the workplace too! Read Balthazar’s story, a toy schnoodle who began his very special volunteer role supporting our service users.

However, one of the biggest benefits of working in care is that it is one of the most fulfilling careers you could have. When we asked our carers what they enjoy most about their jobs, the most popular response was the ability to make a positive difference to the lives of our service users. Hear from our very own Carrie Manson, from our Argyll & Bute branch, when asked why she chose to work in care:

“I get up in the morning to do my job because it’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do. The things I’ve learned and life experience I’ve gained from working in care is something I couldn’t have gained anywhere else. I am so grateful to work in such a lovely job.”

Are you still unsure about a career in care?

If you’re still unsure about a career in care and would like to know more, you can hear directly from our carers as they share how they began their careers and what they love about the job. Read Kathryn’s story to find out how she got into the care industry, or listen to Gareth’s story and why he made the decision to leave his job as a chef to become a professional care assistant.

You can find your nearest Cera branch here, or click here to browse through our current vacancies.

However, if you can see yourself working for Cera internally, you can find out more about the roles we have available here. Whatever your preference, we provide all the information you need to start your new career in care today and we look forward to welcoming you to the Cera family soon.

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