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Working as a carer in the UK

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How to become a carer

Searching ‘how to become a carer’ will lead you to many different websites giving you a huge amount of information, but how can you be sure that the one you’ve chosen is going to support you in every aspect of your career? Because Helping Hands has been delivering the highest standards of care at home to our customers for more than 30 years you can guarantee that we are experts in caring for both our customers and our employees. This means you’ll receive friendly, knowledgeable advice from the first moment you contact us and sensible answers to any questions you may have.

Is it right for me?

It takes a special kind of person to become a Helping Hands carer and it’s important to consider what working as a carer will actually be like if you aren’t already in a similar role. It’s a good idea to talk to someone you know who may already be in a caring position, and research thoroughly what you are likely to undertake on a daily basis. There’s no such thing as a typical day when you’re caring for someone in their own home, and as we always put the customer at the centre of their own care journey you will be responsible for supporting the customer to live life their way. Some of the responsibilities you may have as carer include:

  • Companionship – Perhaps the most important of all your responsibilities, you will be a friendly face for your customer to share conversation and enjoy spending time with
  • Mobility support – Some customers need assistance getting up and moving around their home
  • Overseeing medication – All in accordance with the customer’s support plan
  • Household chores – Helping out around the home, such as vacuuming or washing clothes
  • Running errands – Picking up groceries or prescriptions
  • Personal care – Some customers need support with bathing, dressing and continence care

If you’ve decided becoming a carer is the right role for you, choosing Helping Hands can see you enjoy a range of benefits, on top of knowing you’ve made a difference to another person’s life. These include a competitive rate of pay, flexible working pattern, ongoing support from your local manager and opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge while you work for us.

The ins and outs of working as a carer

Working as a private carer in the UK is a rewarding career that pays well and can fit around your lifestyle. With Helping Hands, we provide all the support you need to be an amazing live-in carer.
Every one of our carers receives the level of instruction they need to support their customer, plus continuing development throughout your career with us.

Some of our best carers never professionally cared for anyone before they came to Helping Hands, although we will always value the experience and skills that you bring with you. We are here to support you and you are there to compassionately support your customer – together we make a great team.

Deciding to work in another country is a big decision. Many of our foreign and expat carers tell us it’s a decision they didn’t take lightly. But working in care, especially within the UK, can be an extremely rewarding experience. Read Alison’s story about how she splits her time between the UK and Spain.

Learn more about the pay and benefits of a live-in carer for Helping Hands, and take a look at the full job description. Find out more about applying for UK carer jobs.

Free award-winning assessment before you start

We provide all the practical skills you need to begin your new and exciting career as a live-in carer. The Helping Hands live-in carer assessment and selection week provides the highest quality of practical instruction for new carers. It’s industry renowned.

There are several Helping Hands assessment and selection centres around the UK – in Bolton, Swansea, Alcester, and Peterborough – and we also have one in Cape Town, South Africa.

Our course for live-in carers lasts four days, from Monday-Thursday, and during that time you will learn the practical skills to assist you in your first placement and beyond.

Here’s how the assessment works:

Your four-day course is provided completely free of charge.

Travel expenses – you will need to pay for your travel (including flights) to and from the assessment centre.

Accommodation – we can provide local accommodation in a nearby hotel for the duration of your assessment and before your first placement begins.

If you are joining us as a visiting carer then you will receive instruction relevant to your role, as well as an appropriate period of shadowing with an established carer, organised by your local branch team.

Starting your first placement as a carer in the UK

It’s an exciting day when you begin your first placement as a Helping Hands private carer. Before you start work, we’ll advise on the best route to get to the customer’s home from where you’re staying. When you arrive, you’ll have a handover with the existing carer.

It’s a very useful time to really get to know your customer and the house – and even find out practical advice from the other carer’s experience. The existing carer and the family will be able to tell you about the local area, such as where the local tourist centre is, and the library or leisure centre. So if you’re into sightseeing, reading or swimming, you’ll know exactly where to go when you have free time.

Within 24 hours of starting your placement you’ll hear from your local care service manager who will call or visit to help you settle into your role. But anytime – day or night – there is support available on our Carer Helpline, in case of an emergency.

Flexibility of working as a live-in carer in the UK

Working as a live-in carer – with your accommodation and food paid for while you’re on placement – means you don’t have to worry so much about the cost of living.

It is possible for you request placements in certain parts of the country, maybe where you have family or friends close by, or if there’s a particular region you’d like to visit.

One of the many great things about working as a live-in carer is that you can use your time between placements to travel or visit family and friends, whether that’s in the UK or back in your home country.

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I can do the type of job I enjoy, yet still enjoy my Spanish lifestyle. I chose Helping Hands because they are a nationwide company, meaning I could work near Nottingham where my family are… read more

Alison, a live-in carer from Spain

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Essential things for working in the UK as a carer

To join Helping Hands as a carer, you will need:

  • A compassionate nature and good communication skills
  • The passion to really make a difference to someone’s life
  • The right to work in the UK
  • Excellent levels of English, both spoken and written
  • To pass the Enhanced Disclosure checks by the Disclosure Barring Service

UK bank account

A UK bank account is essential so we can pay you. If you don’t have one when you arrive in the UK, we can issue you with a prepayment card so we can pay you when you start work, we will also provide you with a letter so you can easily set up a UK bank account at any high-street bank or building society. Please note – you cannot make transfers from your prepayment card to someone else’s bank account, you can only be paid into this card and make purchases with it.

When you visit the bank, remember to take two forms of ID with you, such as your passport or European ID card and the proof of employment letter.

Alternatively, you can use an existing online bank account such as Monzo or Revolut so that we can pay you.

When you register with a bank, you cannot disclose your customer’s home address. Please use our head office address for any post you need to be sent to you, we can then redirect this to you in your placement.

National Insurance number

You’ll need a UK National Insurance number, just make an appointment to see your local benefits office or Job Centre Plus and they will make the arrangements.

In the meantime, we’ll put you on a temporary National Insurance number, but it’s important to have your permanent number set-up within 1-2 months of arriving in the UK. More information about this can be found at


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