We love welcoming new carer assistants (also known as carers) to Florence, and we're often asked how people can get started in this rewarding career.
Here's all the information you need to become a care assistant without any previous experience.
What is a care assistant?
Care assistants play such an important role in society.
As a care assistant, your job is to care for our most vulnerable, including young children, disabled adults and the elderly.
Care assistants are trained professionals who help people with their daily lives. They might assist with tasks like cooking, cleaning, socialising, medical and physical support. Some care assistants work in care homes, while others work in clients' homes.
Your aim is to improve each client's quality of life by making sure their needs are met.
It’s important to remember that being a care assistant isn’t for everyone: it’s mentally and physically challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.
Find out more about what a care assistant does in a care home here
What kind of person should become a care assistant?
When considering whether to become a care assistant, you’ll need to think about what skills you already have, and what you'll need to learn.
First and foremost, a good care assistant must have a desire to help people. Clients may be very anxious – sometimes aggressive – so it’s important to have patience and strong communication skills.
A good sense of humour and a kind, friendly nature will take you far. These qualities will help you build a sense of trust with your clients and those who are close to them.
How do you become a care assistant?
If you're a caring, empathetic and positive person, you should definitely consider becoming a care assistant. The great news is that you can start the role without any formal qualifications. In other words, you don't need GCSEs, A-Levels or a degree.
That being said, some official credentials can be helpful.
Before applying for a care assistant role, you might want to think about gaining:
- First Aid skills.
- A Level 2 or 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care.
An NVQ can teach you how to support people who have learning difficulties, and older adults with dementia. These skills will be a massive help when you become a care assistant.
Find courses near you at the National Careers Service government website.
Training while working as a care assistant
When you start as a care assistant, you’ll need to complete a 12-week induction scheme called ‘The Care Certificate’. You'll do this alongside your work, and it involves both written and practical learning.
This is to make sure you understand topics like safeguarding, equality, inclusion and health and safety.
Once you’ve got your Care Certificate, you'll be able to do parts of your work unsupervised, though you may still be supervised for work not covered by the Certificate.
Getting the Care Certificate shows you’re hitting the standard of care required in the UK.
As a care assistant, you’ll learn constantly, and as your career progresses you’ll regularly need to complete other pieces of more specialised training.
What’s a care assistant's salary in the UK?
The average starting salary for a care assistant is £12,000-£16,000 depending on where you’re working in the country.
As you become more experienced and complete more qualifications (for example, a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Adult Care, or a degree in Social Work or Nursing), your salary can go up to £18,000-£21,000.
Some contracts include accommodation and food, and you can earn more by working overtime. If you move to a more supervisory role like a Senior Care Assistant, or go into managing people or services, your wage could go up to around the £25,000-per-year mark – sometimes even more.
How do you find work as a care assistant?
When you have more experience as a care assistant, you’ll be able to pick up shifts in different places if you join an agency or use the Florence app.
You can find out more about government support for carer assistants here.
How can Florence help?
Once you’ve completed six months’ employment as a care assistant, you can join Florence and take control of your shifts, pay and the locations you work.
Florence is free to use. Sign up and you’ll have a huge choice of shifts available to you.
Each shift page includes a description of the job, location and pay so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Find out more about Florence here.
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