Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

What qualifications do I need to be a care worker?

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Being a care worker can be a hugely rewarding career. Care work is required across a broad spectrum that covers a number of medical conditions, age ranges and personal needs, including assisting in the care of children, the elderly and people with a variety of both physical and mental learning disabilities.

A recent report in the Daily Mail suggests that post-Brexit, the UK could face a loss of up to 380,000 care workers. This is a worrying statistic. If you are passionate about caring for others then this could be a potential career option for you. Here are just a few of the skills that you'll need to succeed:



To begin with, you may be wondering what qualifications do I need to be a care worker and depending on the type and level of care you'd like to provide, the entry requirements from an academic point of view may vary. However, in general, many employers would be pleased to see someone with an NVQ or above in Health and Social Care or a Full Care Certificate. Adult social care can also be a worthwhile qualification to have when working with adults. Although a GCSE and A-level qualifications are desirable, they are not always essential in the care profession.



Gaining experience can be a crucial element for someone just starting out in the care industry so be prepared to volunteer or work for a low wage if it means being able to gather that all-important knowledge. There are even voluntary agencies in both the public and private care sectors that can be a good way of getting your foot in the door.

Because the care industry can be competitive, it's important to hone your skills in a way that makes your CV stand out. First aid training, food hygiene and health and safety certificates are all desirable qualifications to hold when entering this industry. In some cases, you will be given training in these areas when you start work but if you already possess them it can be a plus point for employers. You will also need to possess (or pass) a criminal record background check known as a DBS check.

Good organisational skills, quick thinking and the ability to multi-task are all key aspects in a caring role.

The very nature of the profession is the provision of a caring and compassionate service and this should be reflected in your personality. Caring can be tough - both emotionally and physically - with long shifts and difficult situations to deal with. But remaining calm, patient and cheerful is essential in a caring role. You are offering a highly personal service to a client and will probably form a bond with them over time.

You will also be dealing with the family members of clients so communicating professionally and respectfully with them is also important. If you really are thinking of entering the care industry then you need to be a 'people person' above all else and offer kindness and compassion as standard.

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