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Time for a change? How to start your career in the care home industry

“The simple act of caring is heroic.” – Edward Albert

With the UK’s elderly population continuing to grow, the care home industry is evolving. In fact, by 2030, around 1 in 5 of us in the UK is predicted to be aged 65 or over. Whilst it may not be the first consideration for many looking to take the next steps in their career, there’s so much the care home industry has to offer - whether you're just leaving school or looking to change careers.

Recently we spoke to Jon Mason, Recruitment Manager at Maria Mallaband Care Home Group who sheds light on some key questions to consider when considering a career in the care sector.

What sort of roles are available in care homes?

Whilst direct care is the key purpose of course, care homes are also mini communities where there really is something for everyone. There are plenty of creative, practical and management roles in the team too, with positions in catering, wellbeing and social activities, administration, housekeeping, management, maintenance, quality control, and even transport.

What skills and experience do you need?

One of the most important skills you can bring to this field is passion! After all, it might be your place of work, but it is home for those who live there. A passion for community and companionship as well as the work you do is something that can make such an impact on your role and those around you.Jon Mason - career in the care home industry

It’s also important that people who choose this career are confident communicators and empathetic, whether they engage directly with those living there or not. An encouraging, positive attitude is always welcomed too.

Depending on the role, you don't actually need specific professional experience to join the care home industry. After all - everyone has to start somewhere. Valuable experience comes in different shapes and sizes.

Which sectors are people new to the career sector coming from?

With the pressures of the ongoing pandemic on certain industries, many are needing to look elsewhere for reliable employment. Many of our recent hires have completely changed their career path and are now looking to build a long-term future in the care sector. Many of our most recent hires have come from completely different sectors, including project management, children's activities, hotels, and even personal training.

Those within retail, customer service and hospitality have developed great interpersonal skills and are able to work as part of a team. In sectors that are struggling, people are now considering where those skills could be applied elsewhere, and care homes have a lot to offer.

What qualifications are needed to work in direct care?

If you’re specifically looking for a role focused on care provision, First Aid or an NVQ in Health and Social Care are useful, but not essential. Qualifications like these will provide insight into the expectations of a care work role, as well as provide preliminary knowledge and skills necessary to hit the ground running. 

Getting hands on experience whilst studying can be a much more effective way to learn - plus some employers actually value the opportunity to align your learning to their own methods and practices. Maria Mallaband currently has a number of Trainee Nurse Associates studying with universities across the UK alongside their current roles. Being able to earn and learn like this gives them the opportunity to become fully qualified nurses without having to worry about funding.

Would a career in the care sector appeal to younger people?

Work isn't just about making money and filling the hours anymore. Young people in particular are looking to add real value and contribute to a purpose. We started working closely with The Prince’s Trust to engage with young people to help kickstart their career in care. Through this programme, we're encouraging individuals from all walks of life to consider a career within a care home.

Whatever their background, for those looking for a career that inspires their passions and gets them up in the morning, I believe this sector could be just what they’re looking for.

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