A career in care: how to get into the industry

The forecast shortfall of almost 400,000 social care staff by 2028 due to low pay and Britain’s departure from the European Union is a staggering figure, but it came as a conclusion in the ‘Fair Care: A workforce strategy for social care’ report, from the Institute for Public Policy and Research. We’ve teamed up with Acorn Stairlifts, an award-winning stairlift provider, to highlight that there are many opportunities available for focusing your career around the care industry though. Here’s five job roles which are worth considering…

Care worker

The key aim of a care worker is to ensure that patients can live as independently as possible, providing daily assistance in everyday tasks. You will be tasked to support people with their social and physical activities, as well as matters related to personal care and mobility.

Entry requirements

There are multiple options when it comes to career routes into a care role, ranging from apprenticeships, direct application to a vacancy, through a college course or by regular volunteering.

For those select the option of a college course, a wide variety of care industry programs exist — obtaining a Level 1 Certificate in Health and Social Care, for instance, or a Level 2 Diploma in Care.

Voluntary work for a relevant organisation is another possible entry system, meanwhile both lead adult care worker advanced apprenticeships and adult care worker intermediate apprenticeships can see you securing a permanent position as a care worker too.

Often, having prior experience of working with people is a desirable attribute in candidates who apply directly to an advertised vacancy, as training will generally be provided on the job. GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (or A* to C) in English and Maths, or equivalent qualifications, may also be requested from some employers.

Essential skills

A prospective recruit will have developed the following skills:

  1. Be able to accept criticism.
  2. Be able to communicate verbally in an exceptional manner.
  3. Be able to pay attention to detail.
  4. Be able to work effectively while under pressure.
  5. Be patient and know how to remain calm even in stressful situations.
  6. Have the ability to work well with others.
  7. Showcase customer service skills.

Day-to-day duties to expect

  • Assisting a client with matters of personal care, including dressing, using the toilet and washing.
  • Assisting a client when it comes to how they pay bills, manage their budget and write letters.
  • Preparing food and then feeding a client, as well as giving out medication.
  • Taking the time to get to know a client, including their needs and interests.
  • Undertaking general tasks, such as housework, laundry and shopping.

Expected salary

According to Totaljobs, the average salary for care worker jobs is £16,622.

Jobs available*

Carry out a search for ‘care worker’ on Indeed at the moment and you will be able to browse through 35,226 related jobs.

Care home manager

Become a care home manager and both the leadership and day-to-day running of a residential care home will be your responsibility. Your tasks will ensure the facility meets industry standards, while you should also expect to manage budgets and contracts in place throughout the organisation.

Entry requirements

Going to university, completing an apprenticeship and progressing into the role by working in the care industry are all routes available which could see you becoming a care home manager.

Opt for the university route and you’ll want to study either a foundation degree, a higher national diploma or a degree in an associated subject such as health and social care management to begin with. Once you’ve completed your selected university course, you’ll want to apply for a place on a graduate trainee scheme.

Higher apprenticeships for children, young people and family managers are available too, if you would rather take this route. You can also start on an apprenticeship for care leadership and management, though take note that additional on-the-job training will be required once you’ve obtained this qualification.

If you already have a job in the care industry, there is the option to apply for training towards a role such as a deputy manager. You should be looking to begin studying for the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services, where you’ll get six pathways to select from:

  1. Management of Adult Services
  2. Management of Adult Residential Services
  3. Practice in Adult Services
  4. Management of Children and Young People’s Services
  5. Management of Children and Young People’s Residential Services
  6. Practice in Children and Young People’s Services

Essential skills

To be successful as a care home manager, you’ll need to showcase the following skills:

  1. Be able to accept criticism.
  2. Be able to understand a person’s reactions.
  3. Be able to work effectively while under pressure.
  4. Have knowledge about the English language.
  5. Have knowledge about the subject of psychology.
  6. Have the ability to work well with others.
  7. Showcase customer service skills.
  8. The ability to carry out counselling, such as active listening and how to take a non-judgmental approach.

Day-to-day duties to expect

  • Agreeing to contracts, budgeting and fundraising opportunities.
  • Assisting care home residents so that they can access local services.
  • Carrying out tasks to ensure a facility meets all legal requirement, such as those related to aspects of health and safety.
  • Delivering advice, information and support to care home residents, their families and other staff members at the facility.
  • Encouraging care home residents to participate in activities.
  • Monitoring the quality of care and business performance of a care home.
  • Promoting the rights and duties of care home residents.
  • Recruiting staff members, as well as training and supervising them.
  • Setting out practices and policies.

Expected salary

A salary prediction according to Totaljobs outlines the average pay for care home manager jobs as £37,500.

Jobs available*

If you were to search for ‘care home manager’ on Indeed at the moment, and you would be able to browse through 18,978 related jobs.

Residential support worker

The standard duties of a residential support worker include looking after the mental and physical wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults within the care system.

Entry requirements

Like a care worker, you can secure work as a residential support worker by completing a college course, an apprenticeship, direct application or voluntary work with a relevant organisation.

Choices for college courses are vast, but it could be beneficial to look for awards such as the Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce, the Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Youth Work Practice, the Level 2 Diploma in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care, or the Level 2 GCSE in Health and Social Care.

Progression from a role as a support worker within a children’s home, a care home or hostel is a route often taken to gain the role of a residential support worker, while some choose to complete an adult care worker intermediate apprenticeship instead.

If you are considering applying directly for a residential support worker position that’s become available, paid or voluntary experience within the social work and care sector is a sought-after experience for most employers.

Essential skills

Demonstrate these skills successfully in order to be shortlisted for any position as a a residential support worker:

  1. Be able to communicate verbally in an exceptional manner.
  2. Be able to pay attention to detail.
  3. Be able to work effectively while under pressure.
  4. Be patient and know how to remain calm even in stressful situations.
  5. Have the ability to work well with others.
  6. Showcase customer service skills.

Day-to-day duties to expect

  • Assisting residents when they have problems.
  • Communicating with the families of residents.
  • Educating residents about daily living skills, which could include aspects of budgeting, shopping and how to claim benefits.
  • Helping residents to become independent.
  • Hosting group therapy sessions.
  • Keeping an eye on the needs of a resident, as well as their progress.
  • Providing a resident with physical care, which might include bathing, dressing, feeding and toileting.
  • Providing counselling on a one-to-one basis.
  • Setting up creative and leisure activities within a safe and supportive environment.
  • Setting up both home and family visits for residents.

Expected salary

For residential support worker jobs, Totaljobs listed an average salary of £19,000.

Jobs available*

A current search for ‘residential support worker’ on Indeed shows 7,054 related jobs.

Advocacy worker

An advocacy worker is the port of call for patients in care homes who want to voice their opinions and wishes. As well as providing support to vulnerable people, they will also make sure each resident’s best interests have been considered whenever decisions are made about their lives.

Entry requirements

Interested in a career as an advocacy worker? There are opportunities to get into this role by studying a college course, volunteering, applying directly or taking a course which is run by a private training provider.

When looking for relevant college courses, consider that both a Level 2 Certificate in Health and Social Care or a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care will be desired by employers. However, be aware that at least two GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (or A* to D) are often required to access a Level 2 course, while four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (or A* to C) are usually needed to get on a Level 3 course.

It is possible to volunteer as an advocate too. This route proves appealing as it’s a great way to obtain experience in the role, while volunteers receive both support and training so that they can develop their skills too.

For those who already work in a care home, direct application to an advocacy role is a potential way to secure a new role in advocacy. The experience that you’ve already gained from your time doing care work, social work or counselling is bound to allow you to stand out, though it’s important that you showcase an understanding of the needs of older citizens and display a positive attitude to ageing.

Furthermore, nationally recognised qualifications exist and they cover a wealth of essential modules in advocacy work, and they are generally courses provided by private training initiatives.

Essential skills

These skills are key for fulfilling an ambition to become an advocacy worker:

  1. Be able to pay attention to detail.
  2. Be able to work effectively while under pressure.
  3. Be patient and know how to remain calm even in stressful situations.
  4. Have knowledge about the subject of psychology.
  5. Have the ability to work well with others.
  6. Showcase customer service skills.
  7. The ability to carry out counselling, such as active listening and how to take a non-judgemental approach.

Day-to-day realities

  • Assisting residents to explore the options available to them and how to make informed choices about them.
  • Assisting residents so that they can speak for themselves, as well as be able to speak on their behalf where necessary.
  • Attending meetings with residents to provide moral support, as well as attend meetings on their behalf where necessary.
  • Ensuring residents always have access to their care plan.
  • Ensuring residents are always being treated in a fair manner and with dignity.
  • Negotiating with others who are involved in decisions being made at a care home.
  • Researching information regarding the care industry and then explaining the details to relevant parties.

Expected salary

Data from Totaljobs places the average salary for advocacy jobs at £29,000.

Jobs available*

Jobs in advocacy related roles are notably less than the sectors already discussed, as a search for ‘advocacy worker’ on Indeed at the moment pulls through 179 vacancies.


A nurse provides care for patients who have an injury, physical disabilities or an illness. Within the care industry, they will perform clinical tasks to assist individuals who are based within a nursing home or within the community.

Entry requirements

A University degree or an apprenticeship are recognised career paths for nursing recruits.

University courses in adult nursing are available at numerous institutions, and they are approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. Alternatively, there could be the chance to start studying for a nursing degree on the second year of a course if you’ve already obtained a degree in life sciences, psychology, social work or a health-related subject.

Apprenticeship degrees are an ever-popular option for nursing students, as they provide a mixture of academic learning and practical experience in a care unit. It is important to be aware that support from your employer must be provided in order for you to work your way along this route though.

Essential skills

Any prospective nurse will need to have the following skill set:

  1. Be able to pay attention to detail.
  2. Be able to work effectively while under pressure.
  3. Be patient and know how to remain calm even in stressful situations.
  4. Have knowledge about the subject of psychology.
  5. Have the ability to work well with others.
  6. Showcase customer service skills.
  7. Showcase thinking and reasoning skills.

A day in the life of a nurse

  • Clean and dress wounds.
  • Monitor the progress of patients.
  • Provide advice to both patients and their relatives.
  • Provide residents with drugs prescribed to them.
  • Provide residents with necessary injections.
  • Set up drips and blood transfusions.
  • Take the blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature of a resident.

Expected salary

Totaljobs have pinpointed the average salary for a qualified nurse at £31,787.

Jobs available*

If you search for ‘nurse’ on Indeed, a staggering 48,730 related jobs appear.

This article was brought to you by Acorn Stairlifts, a reputable retailer of curved stairlifts.

*Jobs available logged as of April 2019.












Is it really possible to portray the entire PSHE syllabus in one hour… on stage???

Apparently yes, it is possible, because so far over 100,000 secondary school students have watched the theatrical presentation “Alphabet of a Teenager” in their own school.  Feedback from teachers has been universally positive.

What these students have seen is a production that covers 36 PSHE issues in one 60 minute performance.

The play follows a teenager as he reflects on how his life has changed over his time at school, the friends he’s made along the way and the trials and tribulations of teenage life. The performance encompasses drugs and alcohol education, emotional health and wellbeing, work-related learning, racism and cyber safety.

Alphabet of a Teenager was put together with a consortium of educators, writers and performers ensuring that it works for pupils and students every time – and with productions having taken place in over 800 schools, we can certainly verify that this is the case.

There are also optional follow up workshops which delve deeper into the issues raised.

To find out more about this performance please visit https://qsworkshops.com/workshops/alphabet-of-a-teenager/ or you can call me at anytime on 020 8088 0717.