If you’re a people person, you could be great in the care industry. Of course it involves a little more than just keeping someone company, and the job can often be tiring and emotionally difficult, but hugely rewarding.

Care workers are always in demand so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to find employment, plus hours are flexible and pay is decent.

For jobs, try recruitment agencies such as Safehandsrecruitment.co.uk,  which covers positions from childcare to working with the elderly, and will match you with a client based on your interests and experience.

Live-in carer

The role of a live-in carer is to offer personal care for someone who needs more help around the house – this could be overseeing medication, helping with mobility and doing household chores. The most important thing you’ll be doing is spending quality time with the person.

A benefit of live-in care is that you get room and board while you are working, which means the majority of your salary goes right in your pocket.

Christiescare.com provides 24-hour help to patients all over the country and will help place you. It also runs a five-day in-depth induction course that will train you for your position.

Clarendonhomecare.com also finds carers placements, and its clients are focused around London and the south east, so you can stay in the city.

Qualifications: Experience in care work is not essential but it can be helpful. In England the most relevant qualification would be an NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care,and equivalent courses of study from abroad will be recognised. Most of all, however, you have to show that you’re compassionate and care about people. All applicants will need to pass a DBS check (previously called a CRB check).

Hours and pay: You will work nights and weekends as a live-in carer. Expect to make £600-700 a week, on top of your free room and board. There will also be a budget for outings.

Working in a care home

Old people’s homes are especially in need of employees and these roles can be very rewarding as you get to know the residents and hear some of the amazing stories they have to tell. You can also work in specialist positions such as in a hospice or rehab centre. At care homes there are also more managerial and administrative roles. Care24seven.com specialises in placing people in care positions with the elderly.
Qualifications: In these jobs an NVQ certificate or equivalent in health care is preferable but again not always required. Recruitment agencies will help place you depending on background. Care24seven.com fast tracks you through whatever handling or first aid training you need.
Hours and pay: Shifts will be shorter than live-in work but carers will still be needed through the night or on weekends. Care workers make £7-10 an hour, generally.

Healthcare assistants

Healthcare assistants work in more medical settings, such as hospitals and GP offices, so it will suit people who are interested in this side of care work and perhaps want to get into the medical profession. In this job you will work closely with a healthcare professional, such as a nurse or a midwife, and will get a lot of exposure to the role.

Duties will include things such as monitoring a patient’s health by checking temperature, pulse and weight, serving food, making beds and helping patients mobilise or get comfortable. If you have an interest in one area of medicine you can work alongside staff in this area.

Qualifications: You don’t need qualifications for this role, as it’s all part of gaining experience.

Hours and pay: Most healthcare assistants work a 37-hour week with flexible shifts. Salaries start at £14,000 but can rise to £19,000 if you have experience. Additional pay for antisocial hours – at night or in the weekend – may be on offer.

Intermediate/short-term carer

Short-term carers are hired for specific time frames, so they’re perfect if you need a flexible job. Placements can come up when family members need a break, or if a patient needs extra support during or after an illness, with medication or getting around. HFHhealthcare.co.uk work with the NHS to place carers so they’re particularly useful if you’re interested in working with someone post-hospital. Your schedule will depend on your clients, so you may work once a week doing the shopping, or on a one-off weekend if the rest of the family are going away. If you really like working with babies and children, there are options to work with a new mother when she comes out of hospital, helping look after her newborn.

Qualifications: It’s about bedside manner here, and you’ll often find with care work like this, the most important thing is being a good friend. Draycottnursing.co.uk places people as live-in and short-term carers. It especially works on tailored plans with clients who are new to needing help, so they’re great to go to if you’d like intermediate or short-term work.

Hours and pay: If you’re working as a live-in carer for a short period of time expect to make £100 a day, and have shifts through the night. If you’re working on an hourly basis helping out here and there, you’re hourly rate will start at £7.50 an hour. Again, clients will provide money for food, activities, and potentially board if needed.