Support workers care for and support the well-being of vulnerable people. They enable their clients to live their lives as independently as possible, by providing tailored emotional and practical care.
They may support their patients within their own home, a residential care home or in a supported living environment. With such a diverse client base, support worker roles and responsibilities can be varied. However, the focus of the job is always to improve the quality of life for the client.
This detailed guide includes a full support worker job description and everything else you need to know about support workers, including salaries, skills, qualifications, typical employers and more.
- Support worker job description
- How much do support workers earn?
- What does a support worker do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs support workers?
- Which junior jobs progress to support worker roles?
Support worker job description
Support worker | Community Care Group
About Community Care Group
Our goal is to make a positive difference to the lives of elderly and vulnerable adults by supporting them in leading a fulfilling life, providing the highest standards of care and allowing them to live as independently as possible in their own homes.
About the role
We are looking to recruit support workers to provide a range of care services to clients within their own home, including personal care, food and drink preparation, assisting with travel and socialising and medication administration. Reporting to the care manager, you should be passionate about delivering the best standards of care and enhancing the lives of our clients.
- Evaluating the practical and emotional needs of clients and creating detailed care plans.
- Assisting clients with daily personal care, such as bathing and dressing.
- Helping with light domestic tasks, such as cooking and cleaning.
- Providing assistance on living issues such as budgeting, shopping, letter writing and benefits.
- Monitoring the health of clients by regularly checking temperatures, pulses and weights.
- Being a source of emotional support for clients, by listening to and discussing their worries, problems and concerns.
- Generally supporting and encouraging the wellbeing of our clients.
Location & commitments
- Full and part-time permanent roles available.
- Overtime may be required during busy periods.
- Choice of weekday, weekend, day, night and/or evening shifts.
- Involves daily travel to and from client’s houses.
- 6 months+ experience of working in a health, care or support environment.
- Level 2 or 3 diploma in Health & Social Care.
- An interest in working with elderly and vulnerable adults in a caring environment.
- A friendly, approachable, empathetic and caring nature.
- A good level of spoken and written English.
- Reliable, flexible and adaptable attitude to work.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
- Full and up-to-date DBS check.
- Full UK driving license.
- Willingness to work towards a Health and Social Care diploma.
Contact us to apply
If you’d like to become a support worker, please contact our recruiter, Susan Jones by sending your CV and a short covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much do support workers earn?
Support workers earn an average salary of £19,000.
Support worker salaries in the UK
- Low: £16,622
- Average: £19,000
- High: £24,449
Support worker salaries will vary depending on;
- The industry of the employer – Generally speaking, support workers in the public sector earn the highest salaries.
- The specialism – Support workers who work in a specialised role, such as a dementia advisor, normally command a higher wage.
- General salary factors – Salaries will increase with experience, with senior or managerial support workers achieving significantly higher rates. Salaries tend to be higher in the South than the North.
It’s important to bear in mind that these are average figures taken from job advert samples and do not include additional benefits such as bonuses, overtime and pensions.
What does a support worker do?
Breaking down the job description, support worker tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on the needs of the individual — but generally, typical duties include:
- Carrying out assessments – Carrying out initial assessment of each client’s needs, in order to identify the type of support needed.
- Creating care plans – Create written care plans detailing the type of support needed and how the support will be given.
- Assisting with personal care – Assisting with daily personal care, such as personal hygiene, dressing, using the toilet, eating and drinking.
- Helping with practical tasks – Helping with day-to-day tasks and light household chores, such as budgeting, letter writing, paying bills, preparing meals, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping.
- Transporting clients – Assisting with transportation, for example, to and from a residential home or community facilities, medical appointments or school/college.
- Providing companionship – Being a companion and source of emotional support to clients by actively talking and listening to them about their problems, thoughts and feelings.
- Organising recreational activities – Organising fun and enriching activities, encouraging clients to pursue ambitions, learn new skills and take up hobbies.
- Supporting healthcare needs – Monitoring the health of clients, helping to administer medication and informing doctors and therapists of any problems.
- Reporting – Carrying out regular assessments, writing up reports and informing senior staff, family and friends of clients of any changes or progress.
What do support workers need?
Support workers are in high demand across the UK, meaning roles are readily available and staff are regularly taken on without prior training or experience.
However, exact requirements will vary depending on the seniority of the job, as well as the industry and type of client being cared for. But generally speaking, here’s what’s needed:
Support worker jobs generally don’t require any prior experience, as full training is often provided on the job. With that said, previous experience in a health or care role will still be a distinct advantage.
Senior support worker jobs normally require several years of experience of providing care and support to vulnerable individuals.
As support workers work with a wide range of vulnerable people, employers often lookout for the following soft skills in candidates:
- Interpersonal: A friendly and personable attitude, with the patience to talk and listen to individuals who may themselves have difficulty communicating.
- Written communication: The ability to maintain and create accurate written records and reports.
- A caring and empathetic nature: A kind, positive, patient and understanding approach, ensuring that clients feel relaxed and safe in their presence.
- Resilience: The ability to professionally and effectively deal with challenging, high-pressured and emotionally draining situations.
- Reliability: A commitment to providing the highest standards of care and showing up reliably and punctually, in order to provide a sense of safety and stability to the client.
- Organisation and planning: The ability to juggle numerous tasks and manage the time in each client’s home effectively, ensuring all essential duties have been completed.
- Flexibility and adaptability: Client’s needs do not stop when business hours end, meaning flexibility for unusual shifts, overtime and unsociable hours is essential.
- IT: Basic computer skills, in order to record up-to-date and accurate data on various devices.
Support worker qualifications
Qualifications are not essential to work as a support worker, as most employers provide full training and value hiring the right type of person over anything else.
With that said, some employers will ask for a basic standard of education, such as Grade A-C in English and Maths.
However, there are a number of further qualifications that are recognised across the profession and will help candidates to land a support worker role and, in some cases, allow faster opportunities for progression:
First Aid training
As support workers care for vulnerable individuals, having a basic understanding of what to do in an emergency situation can be the difference between life and death. A basic first aid training course or qualification will equip support workers with the skills they need to assist their clients in a medical emergency.
Completing a safeguarding course is a great way for support workers to ensure tdemhey have the correct skills to protect a vulnerable person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. A support worker’s job is ultimately to keep their clients safe, meaning an understanding of the key principles of safeguarding can be a distinct advantage in the job market.
Level 2, 3 4 or 5 Diploma in Health and Social Care
A diploma in Health and Social Care will help candidates to gain the breadth of skills and knowledge required to care for others across a range of care settings. Students have the chance to specialise in the most relevant course pathway for their current role or future career goals — for example, children and young people, substance abuse and management, dementia care or learning disabilities.
Health and Social Care Degree or HND
A range of undergraduate and HND courses in Health and Social Care are available at various colleges and universities across the UK. While these are not a requirement for support worker roles, they may springboard candidates into higher paid senior and managerial level care roles.
What is expected of support workers?
Typically, support workers will be expected to commit the following:
- Full or part-time hours – Support worker roles are available on a variety of contracts, from ad-hoc bank agency work, to part-time and full-time temporary and permanent jobs.
- Shift work – Most staff are employed on a shift basis, which normally includes a mix of day, night, sleep-in, weekday and weekend shifts.
- Overtime – As support workers provide a vital lifeline for their clients, paid overtime is often available.
- Location – Depending on the type of employer, support workers may be based in-house at a residential care home or assisted living setting, or may be required to travel to client’s residential houses.
- Regular travel – Support workers who are based in a care home may still be required to transport residents to and from appointments, events and activities.
Support worker benefits
Support workers who are employed on a permanent basis normally receive a good benefits package, including things like:
- Flexible working hours
- Ongoing training
- Care worker/NHS perks and discounts
Who employs support workers?
With a growing and ageing population, support workers are in high demand, making a career in the care sector a secure choice. As care services are needed everywhere, support worker jobs are available across the country — although opportunities are usually easier to come by in larger towns and cities.
The majority of social care jobs can be found with independent care organisations and agencies, but work can also be found in:
- The NHS
- Social services
- Local councils
- Not-for-profit organisations
- Supported housing organisations
- Nursing homes
- Residential homes
Which junior jobs progress to support worker roles?
A job as a support worker is an entry-level role, meaning candidates can enter the profession without any professional experience. Generally, anyone over the age of 16 with a good standard of general education (GCSEs) can apply for a support worker role.
Which senior jobs do support workers progress to?
Support work can open the door to many different opportunities and career paths, such as:
Senior support worker
With a few years of professional care experience, support workers can move into a senior or team leader role. This role involves planning, coaching and mentoring of a team of support workers and co-ordinating the daily provision of care and activities for clients, ensuring the consistent delivery of a high-quality service.
Very experienced care professionals may be suitable for care manager roles, which generally involve taking responsibility for the management of a care service — for example, a daycare service, a residential home, or a company that provides support to clients in their own homes. These positions normally include recruiting and managing staff, overseeing budgets and making sure that the services provided, as well as staff, meet national care standards.
For those who excel in their role, it may be possible to train to become a social worker. Many local authority employers offer sponsorship, meaning support workers can stay on the payroll whilst studying for a social work degree. These roles offer higher status within the care sector and generally command higher salaries.
Support worker job description – conclusion
Support workers are in high demand across the country and the role is varied and rewarding. Gaining a support worker job is a great way for entry-level job seekers to get their foot in the door of the care sector.
While wages often start relatively low, there are plenty of opportunities for career progression, and further study can bring significant salary increases. The job also offers flexible working hours and a strong sense of job security.