How to Work as a Caregiver in the UK
Caregiving work can be rewarding and satisfying.
Often, the most rewarding and satisfying jobs either involve volunteer work or are now well-paid. Teaching children with AIDS in Bolivia is among the most fulfilling jobs I have ever taken. Still, as I have aged and have more financial responsibilities, volunteering is no longer an option. However, if you still want to contribute something to the community like me, please read on. If you can work in the UK, a job does exist that allows you to help others. The work does not require any previous training. It pays well and often takes you to the UK's most beautiful, obscure villages. On top of all of these advantages, the job allows you to choose when and where you work. So you can work for a month and then travel for three. Work for twelve months, travel for two years! It sounds intriguing, I'm sure. Well, it is.
The job is called "caring." And it really is as simple as that. Suppose you are a naturally caring individual with lots of patience and a good sense of humor. In that case, you have the potential to become a caregiver.
What is Caring
So, what is involved in caring? You are sent via an agency to an individual's home (or, at times, a couple), and you are expected to stay with that person in their house—usually for about two weeks. You are provided with room and board. Your travel costs to and from the client's house are also paid for—in addition to a daily or weekly wage, which varies widely between about £100 and £140 gross a day or £1000 to £1800 a week. Rates can be higher when working for a couple or the more wealthy. Your role in that person's home varies according to your daily wage. On the lower end of the wage scale, you will only have to cook meals and provide companionship—perhaps with some light housework. You will have to engage in personal care on a slightly higher end of the wage scale. Personal care is somewhat more complicated, but with experience, such caregiving becomes easier to handle. You will have to assist the individual with washing, whether in the shower, bath, or in their beds, and sometimes help them with going to the toilet. Often, agencies request that you be a driver, and they will need a copy of your driver's license. But even if you don't have a driving license, don't be put off from applying as there are many jobs with housebound patients who do not require being driven at all.
The most highly-paid jobs usually involve working for a couple or an individual needing constant attention. You can always request the job level you wish. You will never be sent into one of these more challenging forms of booking when you are just starting out or have yet to request it.
Once accepted, after a friendly informal interview, the agency will often require you to undergo between a day and four days of training. The training offered by the agency will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge you will need before your first booking with a client. One of the most interesting elements of this job is helping with rehabilitation.
An Interesting and Intense Job
The job is intense, as you live and work with the client for two weeks—day and night. You receive at least two hours off per day, two valuable hours. If you are provided with a car, which you often are, you can go anywhere in the area. Because most clients are reasonably wealthy, you will usually be placed in the more stunning regions of the UK. Gorgeous little villages, charming towns, and the occasional stint in ever-buzzing London will allow you to get to know parts of Britain that many Brits don't even know exist.
Another interesting part of the job is that an agency might occasionally send you to a well-known individual or family. I have been fortunate to be sent on several such assignments, and they can be exciting jobs since the individuals are often fascinating.
In all of the ways I have used to describe the job of caregiving, I have intentionally never used the word "easy." The position is incredibly challenging, daunting, and often distressing. You might be working with someone who is suffering from a terminal illness. It can obviously be unfortunate to watch somebody experiencing such pain. But making that person laugh and momentarily forget that they are ill is exhilarating. Once you are an established caregiver, you find the clients you prefer to work with and can return repeatedly to be with them, provided both parties are happy with the arrangement.
I am British and have been doing this job intermittently for several years. It is a unique, engaging, and ideal way to do more meaningful work and fund travel. You can save a lot of money quickly because you are not paying for rent, and your social life becomes limited for the time you are working. In addition, the job allows you to stop and start whenever you want. The only financial outlay will be when you are between jobs. If you take only a few days off between jobs, you must pay for a hostel or bed and breakfast. If you'd like to take more time off, renting a room somewhere exciting and interesting might make more sense if you still need to buy a ticket to reward yourself!
Resources for Caregiving Jobs
Important note: Always investigate every job posting to verify that you have the correct visa or work permit if you are not a UK citizen. In some cases, you can talk yourself into being sponsored. Still, it is essential to be sure that you have information or papers in hand before committing.
Indeed: Live in Care Jobs
Consult us Care and Nursing
Caroline Nye has traveled and worked extensively all over the world, working in organic farming, wildlife guiding, teaching, and musical performance, as well as volunteering in various international development projects. She has had articles and short stories published in Amateur Photographer (UK), Matador Travel, and The Healing Project book series. She won a Bunac Green Cheese scholarship for humorous writing. Caroline is currently managing a dance team in Spain.