What is a Residential Childcare Worker?
Residential Childcare Workers are responsible for supporting and caring for some of the most vulnerable children in our society, many of which may come from a background of neglect and abuse or suffer from disabilities. It is therefore pivotal that someone in this profession can cater to the physical and emotional needs of each individual, possessing traits of empathy, compassion and patience in order to offer a consistent level of care.
This role means caring for children in full-time care so workers in this field must be on hand to deal with any issues that may arise in the children’s lives as well as being a general day-to-day support network for them. Whilst the relevant qualifications are integral for this role, the nature of a person is also essential in making a successful Residential Care Worker.
What does a typical day in residential childcare look like?
The day-to-day duties can, as expected, differ regularly. However, one thing that remains is that a Residential Childcare Worker must aim to provide consistency in the child’s life – routine and structure are integral in creating a safe environment. This may involve creating timetables and schedules whilst setting clear boundaries for the children to adhere to.
Accompanying a child and assisting with their daily needs, such as providing breakfast, ensuring they are dressed and ready for school, doing the school run and assisting with homework whilst offering emotional support are all things expected of a Childcare Worker. During a weekend this may vary as the children won’t be in school and therefore will require more one-on-one care. At this time, you may be required to organise activities such as baking, sports or art sessions to keep the children engaged, entertained and happy during their downtime. This job may involve sleeping in the care home to ensure care is available at all times.
Throughout this, there will also be an element of administrative work to adhere to. Monitoring any issues that occur within the residential home such as injuries and emotional disturbances.
What Qualifications are Required for working in Residential Childcare?
It always helps to be equipped with the desired qualifications when applying for jobs in this industry, however, you may find employers who are willing to fund your training on the job so you can learn as you go. Below we have listed some of the relevant qualifications you should consider to kickstart your career.
NCFE Level 2 Health and Social Care
An NCFE Level 2 Health and Social Care course provides learners with the introductory knowledge and skills needed to take their first steps towards a rewarding career in health and social care. Teaching learners the importance of person-centred support, the protection and safeguarding of children, building communication skills with young people, supporting those with sensory loss and those with mental health struggles. For this qualification, you need no prior experience in care, however you may complete a NCFE Level 1 in Health and Social Care.
NCFE Level 3 Health and Social Care
Designed to enable learners to access higher education or assist with progression into the workplace, a level 3 diploma in social care course is suitable for those with prior experience in childcare. Depending on the course provider, some require an industry work placement to be taken in accompaniment of this course whilst others need previous experience working in the health and social sector. This course will further your learning and development from the Level 2 course, adding more specific industry knowledge.
BA Hons Degree in Health and Social Care
University is not essential but it can enable you to reach more senior, management roles within childcare, such as care home manager. Many universities will offer this course as it will provide access to a range of careers within the industry, not just those specific to residential childcare. When studying for a degree in this subject you will be guided by expert industry professionals who will have a wealth of knowledge and information to share with you about working in the sector. You will also likely get the opportunity to draw on the expert links that the university provide through guest lectures, networking and trips.
There are always ways to further your knowledge and understanding in this area by studying more specific courses relevant to the field you’re working in, even after you have secured a job. This may involve taking short courses to ensure you are up to date with the latest protocols within this ever-changing industry. Some examples of course topics available to broaden your knowledge include Understanding the Development of Young People, Autism Awareness, Positive Behavior Support Training and Engage in Professional Development in Residential Childcare. All of these courses are available to study online with Grey Matter Learning from just £3-per-month.