There are lots of wealthy families with working parents who are in need of someone to look after their kids, and many elderly or disabled people in need of round-the-clock care. It’s also something you can do anywhere in the country and a skill you can take with you anywhere in the world.

Caring opportunities – your options

Caring can be an incredibly rewarding career and there are plenty of jobs to suit you in terms of felixble hours, the types of people you work with and where in the country you go to work.

The positions you can opt to work in are:

• Residential care worker – offers support to people
in their homes on a longer-term basis.

• Personal assistant – working in someone’s home on
a one-to-one basis.

• Community work – caring for people in a specific community and building personal relationships with families, youths or adults.

• Home care worker – giving daily practical support to people in their homes, like cooking meals or cleaning.

There are also several different fields in each of these categories, including:

• People with disabilities

• People who use mental health services

• The elderly

• Children

What skills do you need?

No care experience is needed to become a carer, says Melanie Geldard, recruitment communications manager from Helping Hands care service. “But it does take a certain type of person to make a great carer.

“Being compassionate, caring and patient are three important personality traits. Together with empathy, integrity and resilience. They have to be diligent, adaptable and reliable with a positive outlook and proactive attitude. Being chatty helps and being a good listener is a necessity.”

Care companies such as Active Assistance ( and Origin Care (, which both offer support to people with spinal injuries, give carers all the necessary training from scratch. As do others such as Helping Hands (, which specialises in care for elderly people.

Live-in care companies such as Helping Hands ( and Christies Care ( provide training on areas like nutrition, medication and disability awareness so carers are fully equipped for their first day on the new job. 

Carers working with children or vulnerable adults will need to have a criminal records check. For any time spent in the UK, a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check is what you need. You’ll also need to be cleared from your home country. See for more information. Criminal record checks will take time so get this done early.

 Up your chances

If finding work is tricky at first, volunteer in the social care field if you can. This can help you get experience and you never know, it might lead to a job. Look on the Community Service Volunteers job board ( or search through the national database of volunteer opportunities in the UK for more (

Nannying opportunities – your options

To avoid the hassle of finding a decent family to work for, it’s best to sign up with a nanny agency.

They can negotiate on pay, holiday and hours for you, says Laura Becker from The Baby Works nanny agency (thebabyworks, so it’s well worth joining one.

The main types of nannying job are: 

• Live-in nannying

• Live-out nannying

• After school nannies

• Holiday nannies – these look after the children when they are on school holidays.

• Ad hoc nannies – they look after children as and when they are needed, like when parents are on
a business trip. They can be called out at the last minute.

• Proxy parenting – a nanny takes 24-hour responsibility for a child while their parents aren’t around. 

What skills do you need?

You don’t need formal training to be a nanny but people with a diploma in childcare, a nannying certificate, degree in education or experience working with children are favoured. 

As with caring, police checks are needed, along with good references. You might also need a clean driving licence and a first aid certificate is desirabe too.

Nannies working in Ireland will need Garda clearance.

Up your chances

The best time to look for work is in the summer, because the kids are out of school, or after Christmas as people wait until then to quit or change jobs.


SALARY Live in carers can earn around £400-£500 per week and carers in the community can get up to £9.10 per hour.

TRAINING No prior training needed – it’s provided by care companies when you start.

LOCATION Anywhere.

hours Shifts can be at any time of day or night, and live-in carers provide round-the-clock care at times.

PACKAGE Live-in carers have their accommodation and often food provided.


SALARY Nannies can earn £250-£350 a week if they live in or £400 if they live out, depending on experience. Live
out nannies get an hourly rate.

TRAINING A qualification in childcare, education or nannying would help but isn’t necessary.

LOCATION Anywhere.

hours Full-time, live-in nannies often work around 10 hours a day.

PACKAGE Live-in nannies have their accommodation and food provided.