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What is the role of a support worker? A social care professional who helps with personal care and housework? A healthcare professional that assists doctors and nurses in the clinical setting? Perhaps a person who assists children with their developmental needs? Each day as a support worker presents new challenges and exciting opportunities to overcome them.
Chantel- Ferguson-Giles, our Hereford Branch Manager, shares the different pathways to being a support worker in the health and social care sectors and how volunteering can help build experience for applying for jobs in this sector.
Support workers help people who cannot manage without assistance in their day-to-day living and offer personalised care for each individual they work with. Responsibilities often include: household tasks, shopping, preparing meals and helping those in need to get dressed. Generally, parts of daily life that people with disabilities or learning disabilities might find difficult. Medication administration and cleaning duties are extra roles that a support worker can find themselves assisting with too.
Childrens support workers play a vital part in the development of any young person. This role comes with a huge amount of job satisfaction, knowing you are helping to improve a young person’s independence and confidence. You will be supporting children with their transformation from childhood into adulthood, from helping to find/attend hobbies, supporting with homework, or even helping land a first job.
Healthcare support workers are not just there to do the physical work; they can offer vast amounts of emotional support and companionship to individuals who may feel isolated due to their disability. At Safehands, we know how important it is to create a safe, professional and consistent environment in delivering quality care, so we only employ quality people.
Not only is the job extremely rewarding, as you see your care being beneficial to those vulnerable people you are helping, but each situation you will come across is unique. Your daily work life can differ as you care for different people each day. Yet, your presence for each person is so impactful.
An often unnoticed benefit of being a support worker is consistent job security. Even in the pandemic that we are recently and slowly coming out of, support is always needed. Demand for support workers is constant, and you will always, pretty much, have a job.
When employed through Safehands, you can reap many benefits from becoming a support worker. You will receive access to a blue light card, providing you with many discounts for hundreds of retailers and venues and opportunities for holidays and flexible hours as you need, which is always a bonus!
If you’re looking to become a healthcare support worker, you don’t have to come from any specific background or have certain experiences. It may be that you have studied a subject like nursing, or you might come from a care home or other healthcare environment. Or perhaps you’ve always been interested in helping people but didn’t know how to get into it until now. Whatever your background, there are plenty of ways to develop the skills needed for this job…
If you’re already working as a healthcare assistant or nurse’s aide within an NHS setting, then Level 3 courses will help prepare you for working as a support worker. If your experience is more like personal support work (for example, caring for elderly relatives), then you can find non-NHS training options that can be tailored specifically around your needs and goals for the future! Of course, as with any profession in the healthcare sector, support workers can apply for higher-level courses to develop their careers. You can apply for an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in social work, followed by a postgraduate qualification, which includes working with children and families, to reach higher-paying positions.
If going into higher education at this time doesn’t feel right, or you’re looking to gain some more experience before jumping into that, there are other options you can look into. You can undoubtedly use volunteering as a gateway to helping you build the knowledge you need to apply for a support worker role. It’s a great way to learn new skills, such as communication and empathy, develop your CV and boost your confidence.
By volunteering to work with people with learning disabilities or mental health problems, you may learn how best to communicate with them to give them the help they need. It may also be an opportunity to gain insight into their daily challenges – making you more sensitive when dealing with similar issues in future work situations.
Not just that, as in any industry, putting your feelers out via volunteering will allow you to build up a network of contacts within the industry, which is helpful when applying for jobs later down the line!
Support workers are a valuable part of the healthcare industry, providing vital care to vulnerable people who need it the most. By becoming a support worker, you can radically change the quality of someone’s daily life, which is so rewarding; offering them the physical and emotional support that they need. Finally, being a support worker can be the perfect next step before doing something else later in life, like nursing or teaching. Make sure you check out our blog which covers the most popular support worker interview questions to help you ace the interview!
At Safehands we have so many health and social care jobs available and can help you find a role that’s perfect for you.
If you’re unsure where to start, please get in touch with one of our team who would love to help and offer any advice. Remember, we are a team of experienced healthcare recruiters who provide quality care!