Support worker

Support workers support people with all aspects of their day-to-day living.

What is it?

Support workers support people with all aspects of their daily life, including social and physical activities, personal care, mobility and meal times. Support workers can work in a care home, in people’s own homes or in the community and roles can vary from Community support worker to Residential support worker. Support workers can support lots of different people including adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, dementia and other mental health conditions.

What might the role involve?

Your role might involve:

  • supporting people with social and physical activities
  • booking and accompanying people to appointments
  • helping with personal care such as showering and dressing
  • supporting people with eating and drinking
  • monitoring individuals’ conditions by taking their temperature, pulse, respiration and weight, and possibly helping with medication.

As a support worker you might also be required to provide additional help such as advice about housing, learning life skills such as cooking or budgeting as well as providing emotional support and befriending.

What skills do I need?

Everyone working in social care needs a good standard of English, as well as numeracy and digital skills. You will need to enjoy working in a team and you need to be good at problem solving.

Additional skills required to be an activities worker include:

  • the ability to be organised
  • good digital skills to allow you to do research online
  • good listening and communication skills

What experience and qualifications do I need?

You don’t necessarily need any qualifications to become a support worker. What’s really important is that you’re a kind, compassionate, thoughtful and empathetic person. Your employer might ask that you have qualifications showing good English and number skills such as GCSE A-C in English and maths. It might also be helpful to have a social care qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. Don’t worry if you don’t have these qualifications though – if you’re interested, you can work towards them once you start the job.

How do I progress?

When you start in your role you’ll do an induction, which should include the Care Certificate; these are the minimum standards that everyone working in social care needs to know.

It might also include training necessary for your role such as health and safety, first aid and moving and handling, or specific training such as autism awareness, communication skills or training to help you support people with dementia.

Beyond this there could be opportunities to progress by doing a vocational qualification such as a Diploma in Health and Social Care or continuing a professional development qualification such as dementia, end of life, or autism care. There may be opportunities to progress into management roles or you might choose to go into other roles such as an advocacy worker, personal assistant or rehabilitation worker.

Explore more job roles

Care at home

Supporting people in their own homes

Anyone at any stage of life could need care and support while living at home and in their community. This includes people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory impairment or physical disabilities and older people.

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Residential care

Supporting people living in nursing/care homes

Residential care can often (but not always) involve working with people with health conditions such as dementia and other complex needs that make it difficult for them to live independently in their own home.

Find out more

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