Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

How to become a carer – What you need to know

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If you want to work as a carer, the majority of reputable care companies will want you to have a Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care. These qualifications will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to care for people in a wide range of social care or health settings.

The NVQ courses are flexible and appropriate for all areas of social care or health contexts. If your aim is to work with people who are living with a learning disability, people living with dementia, young people or children you can identify the option which is most suitable for you.

Become a carer

It would also be beneficial for you to gain a First Aid qualification and a driving license. Many care workers need to travel to different locations.

In addition to qualifications, it is imperative that you gain some experience. Volunteering or helping elderly friends or relatives would be very useful. You will also need a criminal record check (DBS) and a medical history check. Alternatively, you could do your care training via an apprenticeship during which you would earn approximately £6.50 an hour.

When you start working as a carer, a reputable agency such as Guardian Carers will give you training covering health, safety and food hygiene. You will also be taught some first aid and how to safely move people.

You will typically be required to participate in an induction scheme to ensure you gain an understanding of health and safety, inclusion, equality, safeguarding and to certify that you meet the UK national minimum standards of care. You will also learn about the various aspects of care you will be expected to provide.

Qualities of a carer

You will need to have a desire to help people every day, whatever their age, background or the issues they are living with.

  • You should have an attitude which is enthusiastic and positive.
  • You will be required to have confidentiality and tact when dealing with situations which are sensitive.
  • You should respect your client, their home, their way of life and their needs.
  • You should be able to work alone, using your initiative and as a member of a team.
  • You must be able to keep calm when under pressure and remember your training at all times
Become a carer

As a carer you could work with the elderly, children and vulnerable adults. You must be flexible. There are various places in which you could work in such as nursing homes, sheltered accommodation, day centres or your client’s own home. You will have various duties such as:

  • Assisting with personal care, using the bathroom, dressing and washing
  • Giving out medication, feeding, preparing food
  • General support such as shopping, laundry, housework
  • Helping your client to pay bills, write letters, manage money
  • Practical and emotional support
  • Accompanying your client on leisure activities
  • Providing development plans and individual care plans with the assistance of other professionals who work in the care agency.

This is a demanding but incredibly rewarding career choice for people from all walks of life.

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