Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

What qualifications does a senior carer need?

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A senior carer is someone who is passionate about their job, someone who has considerable years of experience in the bag, someone who is qualified and always willing to improve.

What differentiates a senior carer from a carer who is just in the beginning stages of their career is the level of experience they have gathered along the way. This encompasses the experiences they have been through in their different roles, the skills they have learnt through working with different people and the qualifications they have received after studying to further their knowledge.

In this article, we will talk about what qualifications a senior carer needs as well as what makes a good senior carer. It’s important to note that certain carers may reach seniority sooner or later and not all situations are similar. However, in terms of qualifications, we believe that all senior carers should hold some of the qualifications we will enumerate below.

A senior carer will typically have a minimum of five years of professional care experience. In order to progress to a senior carer role, the right experience is a must. A senior carer must be able to settle into different jobs with ease and go the extra mile. For instance, by providing emotional support when the care receiver needs it.

Experience is very important here at Guardian Carers. All of our carers have a minimum of 2 years of professional care experience. For senior carers, we are ideally looking for a minimum of 5 years of professional care experience.

The Care Certificate

As mentioned above, possessing the right qualifications and continuing education is essential for a senior carer. A senior carer should also be looking to learn more skills, improve their current skills and gather more knowledge so they can better care for the ones who need it most.

We recommend that senior carers possess a Care Certificate. The Care Certificate entails training and testing on a number of subjects that are relevant to their everyday role. It is an agreed set of standards that defines the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of specific job roles in the health and social care sectors.

The Care Certificate covers the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Assessing needs
  • Care planning
  • Challenging behaviours
  • Child safeguarding
  • Communicating effectively
  • Consent
  • CoSHH
  • Dementia care
  • Develop as a worker
  • Diversity and equality
  • Fire training
  • Food hygiene
  • Health and safety
  • Infection control
  • Mental capacity
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Principles of care and confidentiality
  • Role of the care worker
  • Safeguarding of vulnerable adults

NVQ in Health and Social Care Certificate

Senior carers may also possess an NVQ or more. NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification. NVQs are the UK’s leading vocational qualifications, available for a range of subjects including health and social care, health and safety, catering and more. These qualifications are valued in the UK and internationally.

The NVQ Certificates start with Level 1 & Level 2 for the ones who are preparing to work in adult social care. The carers who are looking to further their studies and progress in their roles would ideally look towards obtaining a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care.

The Level 4 Diploma is intended for those carers who are established in a social care or home care setting and are looking to progress or advance their career. Some of the requirements for obtaining this certificate are working unsupervised in the workplace with either previous suitable qualifications or valid experience.

The NVQ Level 5 and 6 are degree-level qualifications and cover the same curriculum over 11 units. Level 5 is the equivalent of a foundation degree, attained after 2 years of completing a university degree. Level 6 is a higher qualification, equivalent to a full bachelor’s degree and the NEBOSH National Diploma.

These last 2 levels are recommended for a range of health and safety professionals in senior management or advisory roles, including senior carers. Carers are required to use real-life evidence from their workplace, so ideally they should have several tears of experience in their role.

First Aid Certificate

Last but not least, any and every carer, no matter whether they are senior carers or just starting out in the care field should have a valid First Aid qualification. There are plenty of trustworthy and accredited providers of First Aid courses for carers to choose from.

The Emergency First Aid at Work, for instance, is a fully-regulated course that involves practical and multiple-choice assessment. The course usually lasts for about 6 hours. It covers the full HSE syllabus and includes heart attack, asthma, head injuries, spinal injuries, anaphylaxis and acute allergic reactions. The First Aid Certificate awarded after completion of the course is valid for 3 years.

Senior carers may also choose from the Emergency First Aid course which is suitable for anyone who wants to know how to respond in an emergency, regardless of whether they work in the care field or not. This is typically only a 3-hour course that covers adult, baby and child first aid.

Enhanced DBS Check

Despite it not falling under the qualifications category, holding a valid Enhanced DBS Check is essential for any senior carer or carer who aspires to step into senior roles. The Enhanced DBS Check allows employers to ensure potential employees’ credibility by checking their criminal history for cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions.

The check also searches the DBS Children’s Barred List and the DBS Adult First checks where appropriate to ensure the applicant is not banned from working with either of these groups. Sometimes, local authorities or police may also add any information about a person that is relevant to the application.

Here at Guardian Carers, we employ hundreds of carers and senior carers as well as companions, nurses, and PAs. To start working with us, we require a minimum of 2 years of professional care experience, a valid Enhanced DBS Check and a First Aid Certificate. If you would like to see our job opportunities, click here and to make an enquiry, click here.

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