care assistant jobs

Care Assistant jobs – Read about the role of a care assistant and find care assistant vacancies

In this page we have set out what is involved if you are looking at applying for care assistant jobs.  We hope you find the information you are looking for and helpful in your search for home care assistant jobs.

Care assistant jobs can lead to a career in care that is both demanding and rewarding – a vocation which requires a special type of person and a particular personality.

It’s a profession which enables those involved to touch the lives of others in a significant way, with plenty of responsibility and many opportunities to make a difference to the lives of a wide variety of people with care needs – from the elderly and infirm to those with learning difficulties and long-term medical conditions. If you’re looking to work in the care industry there are many different roles you can consider – however one of the most common (and readily available on the careers market) are care assistant jobs.

Care worker jobs involve general cleaning and hygiene tasks, feeding and monitoring and personal care, sometimes with room for progression within the company or for use as a ‘step up’ to nursing or another higher healthcare qualification.

Finding care worker vacancies which suit your requirements both now and in the future can be tricky – but if you are fully informed and look in the right places for positions, it’s possible to find something which fits you perfectly and allows you space and the opportunity to progress at a later stage if you wish.

At UK Care Guide we understand the care industry inside and out – from both a professional viewpoint and a service user perspective. Our site is dedicated to helping all those involved with care – from those receiving care to the individuals who give care.

Here we explore the role a little further and more specifically cover how you can find care worker vacancies in your area to suit you – whether you’re embarking on an exciting new career, or are already in the industry and are looking to move on from your current position.

Role of a care assistant?

The role of a care assistant varies from company to company and the term actually covers a broad variety of related roles in the industry. Responsibilities, pay, shift patterns and working hours vary depending on:

  • your position,
  • who you are working for; and
  • the environment you are working in.

The role of a care assistant can involve working with the elderly, with children, with adults with learning difficulties and those of all ages with long-term health conditions – either at home, or in specialist accommodation such as a care home or nursing home. Generally speaking care assistant jobs include washing and dressing, general organisation, cleaning, housework and shopping.

Here is a video that sets out more about what a care assistant job involves.

Care assistant qualifications – What do you need?

The level of care assistant qualifications needed depends entirely on the level you wish to work at. Care assistant qualifications can vary and roles start with very basic responsibilities and part-time hours (for example, in a ‘buddy’ role helping someone with their shopping and providing companionship).

They continue up to roles with low-level medical responsibilities including administering medication and personal care tasks such as washing, feeding and toileting. In between there are a variety of roles, some in nursing homes, some in care homes and some in sheltered accommodation or day centres.

Because of the many different types of position available, the care assistant qualifications you need will depend on the role you wish to apply for. When it comes to applying for a role of a care assistant, some higher level care assistant vacancies do require or favour some type of formal training, such as a nursing qualification or BTEC in health and social care. Therefore, you should think about the care assistant qualifications that would be right for you.

If you are coming to a career in care later in life, there are plenty of part-time courses which offer the opportunity to complete these qualifications so that you can then progress to a higher level role earlier on.

Some care companies facilitate in-house training for care worker jobs and will even pay for professional development (including official qualifications which you can complete whilst you work), so it’s worth exploring this option when searching for care assistant jobs.

It’s also important to note that to work in care you will be required to complete and pass a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check – previously known as a ‘CRB’ or ‘Criminal Records Bureau’ check. This ensures that you can safely work with vulnerable people and don’t have any previous convictions or sanctions which could prevent you from working in care.

Home care assistant jobs – What experience do I need?

Some care companies advertise home care assistant jobs and accept applications from candidates with no previous relevant experience – however it is always preferred for those seeking employment in the industry to have had some previous dealings with other people – especially in a care capacity.

If you are just starting out and now looking for home care assistant jobs then apprenticeships and training programmes are available, and non-paid work experience and volunteering placements are always favoured by employers as they show commitment and a true passion for caring for others. You can find volunteering sites online which post details of local opportunities – plus some community centres and outreach schemes actively recruit volunteers for long-term participation.

Jobs in care – Is it the right career for me?

care assistant jobs

There are many positives to pursuing jobs in care. Of course the obvious benefit of a rewarding vocation which enables the person to actively make a difference is what attracts many to care initially.  But there are also some practical benefits to applying for jobs in care, including financial stability, good pension schemes and health insurance as well as extra shift pay, overtime and progression opportunities.

Training and gaining experience in the care industry is also a savvy career choice from a financial perspective, as care is something which is always needed and as a consequence there will always be positions readily available.  Therefore, there should always be care assistant jobs available.

Jobs in care can be quite physical – and often involve some physical contact and lifting. It’s likely that you will spend a lot of time on your feet and may be very busy from time to time – so you’ll need to be fit and healthy yourself.

If you suffer with any health problems of your own or feel you wouldn’t be able to take on the more physical side of using hoists, helping people to get dressed and dealing with toileting requirements then you may need to re-evaluate and look for a job which involves less intensive care provision.  As you can see jobs in care can be physically demanding.

Instead focuses more on basic, less demanding needs. Emotional wellbeing in this type of career is just as important as physical health – as you will often be required to deal with unfortunate and upsetting circumstances such as acute illness and death, especially when working in palliative care, in hospices or with the elderly.

One other important thing to consider is how jobs in care will fit in around your personal and family life. Often these jobs involve unsociable hours and punishing shift patterns as by nature, care is needed round the clock. If you’re not prepared to work outside of a normal daytime window or find early mornings and night shifts difficult, then jobs in care might not be for you.

How can I better my chances when applying for care worker vacancies?

The care worker vacancies market is constantly changing, and whilst it is still competitive, there is a growing demand for care workers.  The number of care worker vacancies in the UK is growing quickly.

This means that the industry itself is continually growing and therefore has a need for quality care givers and care assistants to work in the numerous care homes and at-home care companies being set up to meet the resulting need.

As a career choice many are now choosing and applying for care worker vacancies in private establishments as an alternative to working in the NHS. It can also serve as a ‘stepping stone’ to a nursing or health care career – as a solid foundation working in care can be highly beneficial when continuing into higher education and completing medical qualifications.

Polishing up your CV

Whether you’re just starting out in care or are a seasoned professional, there is always room on your CV for additional qualifications which could set you apart from another similar candidate when applying for care assistant vacancies.

Become more attractive to potential employers with additional training and complimentary certificates which enrich your CV and make it more likely you’ll be eligible the care assistant vacancies you’re looking for.

This could include a First Aid certificate, a specialist diploma in care for the elderly, or even a holistic qualification or a hobby such as painting which allows you to bring something to the table which could enrich the lives of the people you will be caring for.

You can find a useful guide from Learn Direct on writing a CV here.

Here is a short video on how to write a CV.

Care assistant vacancies and roles tend to be allocated to those who can clearly demonstrate that they are dedicated to the role in question and are willing to stay with a company for some time in order to learn and understand its particular ethos and get to know how the working environment (be it at a home or in a specialist care facility) operates.

Staff who are unreliable or who leave soon after joining are understandable an issue for care companies, as this disrupts the service they offer to clients and can cost them money in wasted training and HR processes.

Invest time in an intelligent job search

Job hunting can become an arduous task, especially when you are forced to trawl through lists of irrelevant search results when you have a specific idea in mind of the type of role and responsibility you’d enjoy.

Several other factors may also be in play, such as the opportunity for career progression, location, salary and other benefits.

Narrow your search down by specifically targeting agencies who specialise only in jobs within the care industry – this way you can meet a representative who can advise what type of roles are currently available to you and what you can do to improve your CV in order to secure an interview.

However, one of the best options would be to use, UK Care Guide, which has a jobs board where we list a number of care assistant jobs in a number of locations.  This can make searching for your dream job in care much easier. This also allows you to complete multiple applications easily in the time it would take to submit just one – so it saves time whilst increasing your chances of success.

Alternatively, you can load your CV to the job board and let potential employers looking for a care assistant  to find you!

What should I do if I’d like to progress further?

As mentioned above, there are a few options available to you if you wish to go up a level and apply for roles which involve more intensive nursing care and have added responsibilities.

These positions also often attract higher pay, so if you’re looking to remain in the same career yet gain more money some professional development might be useful for you.

You may be able to access professional development paid for by your employer – this is something to consider when job searching, or alternatively you can ask your current employer whether this is an option for you. If this isn’t available, then you can complete qualifications elsewhere whilst you work, as many courses are offered part-time as well as full-time.

Which qualification you choose depends entirely on your desired role. This could mean accessing some courses which compliment your current qualifications or experience, such as a Diploma in Care for the Elderly or an A-Level equivalent qualification in Health and Social Care.

If you’d like to change direction slightly and look at opportunities outside of the usual care environment, you can train at the Royal College of Nursing to become a HCA (Health Care Assistant) or AP (Assistant Practitioner).

These qualifications cover basic nursing skills and medical basics, allow you to work in GP’s surgeries, hospitals and with district nurses, and can be a vital stepping stone to higher level education. (To find out more about becoming a Health Care Assistant and a career as a Health Care Assistant, take a look at our dedicated article here.)

If you’d like to progress but wish to remain in a community, care home or nursing home setting you can complete nursing qualifications and remain in this environment as a specialist. Most nursing and care homes have resident or locum nursing staff – these are trained, fully-qualified nurses, sometimes with special experience in elderly nursing care. If you’ve already been working in the care industry for some time, it’s likely you’ll have a lot of the relevant experience required, and therefore only need to complete the relevant qualifications in order to secure your ideal role.

For more advice on careers in care and help with searching and applying for care assistant jobs, please take a look at the UK Care Jobs site and career forums.