what is a personal support worker?

As a personal support worker, you assist your clients with their daily activities. You work with people who have chronic illnesses or disabilities to help them live independently. Your role is varied since each person has unique needs. However, you primarily provide physical and emotional support. For instance, you help your patients carry out their daily tasks and teach them new coping skills for a fulfilled life.

When you are a personal support worker, you help people with diverse needs, including learning disabilities, mental health needs, autism and physical disabilities. That means you sometimes provide support with personal care or life skills like paying bills or shopping. You also work with healthcare professionals to meet your clients' health needs.

As a personal support worker, you work in diverse settings depending on your clients. Sometimes, you work from the patient's private residence or in health and social care settings like care homes and supported living environments. Some community health care centres have personal support workers who visit people with disabilities in the community. The role requires emotional intelligence and empathy to understand people's needs and help them live independently.

Would working as a personal support worker suit your emotional intelligence and ability to build good relationships? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a personal support worker role.


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average salary of a personal support worker

According to ONS, the median personal support worker salary is £23,400 per year or £12 hourly in the private sector. As an entry-level worker, your compensation package starts at £21,450 yearly. Experienced personal support workers take home over £29,359 per year.

Some personal support workers in the UK work for the NHS, and their salaries are based on the Band system. Their compensation package usually starts at Band 1 or 2. That means you earn £18,546 at entry-level positions and progress to higher Bands as you gain experience. Senior support workers earn Band 3 or 4 salaries, which start at £20,330 and £22,549, respectively.

what factors increase the salaries of personal support workers?

Your experience and qualifications usually dictate your compensation package. Specialising in specific care like learning disability or autism improves your salary prospects. Having additional qualifications also boosts your earnings and increases your chances of moving up the ladder. When you have extensive experience, your starting salary is higher than that of entry-level workers.

Your employer also influences your earnings. For instance, working for the NHS limits your earnings to a specific level in the Band system. However, private care homes and social care agencies pay higher salaries.

male and female giving each other a high five in a warehouse.
male and female giving each other a high five in a warehouse.

types of personal support workers

The types of personal support workers include:

  • disability support workers: as a personal support worker, you work with people living with various disabilities. You help them achieve independence by teaching them coping skills. You also assist with personal care routines and help them reach their goals and lead fulfilled lives.
  • autism support workers: a personal support worker also helps people with autism and supports them in completing daily tasks. Apart from assisting with personal care, you support them in their interactions with other people.
  • mental health support workers: you may also work with clients with mental health needs. You assist them with their daily routines, like shopping and exercising. You also ensure they take medication and get to appointments on time.

working as a personal support worker

Working as a personal support worker involves caring for people with various needs. A family may need help supporting an elder or a person with a disability. If you want to join the profession, check out the duties, work environments and job outlook of personal support workers.


education and skills

Some of the different ways to join the role include:

  • college course: college courses for joining a personal support worker role include Level 1 Certificate in health and social care. You can also pursue a Level 2 Diploma in care or a T Level diploma in health. The courses equip you with the skills to care for different patients.
  • apprenticeship: you can join the personal support worker profession on an adult care worker intermediate apprenticeship. The programme involves on-the-job training and coursework.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills of a personal support worker include:

  • patience: as a personal support worker, you require patience when supporting clients. Patience helps you attend to their needs without judgement and make allowances for the demands caused by their age or disability, such as having to repeat instructions multiple times.
  • active listening skills: practising active listening helps you to understand what a client is saying and better support their needs. Communication skills are also crucial for sharing information or instructions concisely.
  • attention to detail: attentiveness to detail helps you to identify and support the patient's ongoing needs. It also enables you to find ways to understand people who have difficulty communicating.


man working in warehouse
man working in warehouse


FAQs about working as a personal support worker

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