A home care assistant’s primary role is to meet the needs of the people they work with and support.

There is a wide variety of home care assistant jobs available, but all will require you to be flexible, adaptable and have plenty of patience, understanding and resilience.

You may work with people in their own homes, help people in community settings or deliver care in a support home. 

Those you care for could be children, people with physical or learning disabilities, older people, families or those with mental health needs.

The work you do will be determined by the needs of those you care for. It may include providing companionship, encouragement or motivation, arranging activities, teaching life skills and offering physical support. 

If you want to make a real difference to the lives of others then here is what you need to become a home care assistant.

what qualifications does a home care assistant need?

There are many NVQ, BTEC, QCF, CACHE and NCFE health and social care qualifications available. Although formal qualifications are not essential for your role, holding them can help to demonstrate your commitment. 

can I train to become a home care assistant?

There is a lot you can do to gain practical experience in order to secure your first role as a care assistant.

Direct experience of helping to care for and support people is essential. Having this will enable you to talk confidently about the rewards and challenges of the work you are applying for.

Look out for voluntary opportunities with an organisation that supports vulnerable people. If you are interested in a particular type of care work, such as mental health, try and find voluntary opportunities that relate to this.

It may be that you have gained experience caring for a friend or family member. Make sure you highlight what you have learned from this in your application and interview.

what skills and qualities do I need to become a home care assistant?

Although much of your work may be one-to-one with those you support you will always be delivering care plans that have been developed as part of a team. Team working skills are critical to the success of care delivery.

On a personal level, you need to demonstrate that you can act with discretion and trust. You will be working with vulnerable people and your sensitivity to their privacy and need for respect is paramount.

You will also need to show that you are resilient: making a difference to people’s lives can be very rewarding but in care work change and progression are rarely achieved overnight.

Above all, you need to be committed to caring, patient and have a great sense of humour. These qualities, perhaps more than qualifications, are what can secure that role for you.

what home care assistant jobs are available?

There is a wide variety of home care assistant jobs available. These involve working with people with a variety of different needs and can be based in private homes, support homes or in community centres.

The work is usually shift-based, and your shifts may change on a weekly basis. Your working hours may include weekends, evenings and nights.