Portage home visitor
35 per week
£16,000 + per year
As a portage home visitor (or portage worker), you would provide a home-visiting service for pre-school children with developmental or learning difficulties, physical disabilities or other special needs. You would help parents to encourage their children's development by suggesting activities and daily routines to make learning fun.
Your work would include:
- observing the child and talking to the parents to identify the skills the child already has
- deciding with the parents which skills are most important for the child's future learning
- suggesting a programme of activities for the parents and child to practise together
- breaking down tasks that are difficult or take a long time into small steps
- providing an activity chart or notebook for parents to record their child's progress
- visiting each week to check on progress and agree on new goals
- writing progress reports and working with the parents to develop long-term goals.
You would work closely with other professionals, such as health visitors, social workers, physiotherapists and speech therapists.
You would work around 35 hours a week, although part-time jobs may be available. You may sometimes need to work in the evenings and at weekends to visit parents who work during the day.
You would be based in an office, but spend a lot of your time visiting families in their own homes.
- Full-time portage home visitors can earn from £16,000 to £18,500 a year
- With experience this can rise to between £19,000 and £22,000
- Senior portage workers can earn between £25,000 and £28,000.
Many portage home visitors are part-time and earn a portion of full-time rates (known as 'pro rata' payment).
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You will need experience of working with children under the age of five, and an understanding of child development. You will also usually need one of the following:
- a relevant professional qualification such as teaching, social work or nursing
- an early years qualification such as NVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education.
As you will be working with children, you will need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)clearance.
With some local authorities you may be able to start as a volunteer portage worker.
Training and development
Before you start work you will attend a three-day, full-time (or part-time equivalent) basic training workshop led by a National Portage Association (NPA) accredited trainer. Your employer may pay for this. Visit the training page of the NPA website for a list of local workshops.
After your basic training, you will be supervised for six months by qualified colleagues, before becoming a qualified portage home visitor.
Once qualified, you will be supported by regular supervision meetings with a senior colleague. Your employer may also provide professional development programmes and opportunities for networking with other professionals.
Skills, interests and qualities
To be a portage home visitor you should have:
- an understanding of child development
- good communication and 'people' skills
- good listening skills
- the ability to give clear explanations to parents
- sensitivity and tact when giving advice
- the ability to write reports and keep accurate records.
National Portage Association
You would usually be employed by local authorities or children’s charities. There are around 140 portage services registered in Britain – see the NPA website for details of registered services.
Vacancies are advertised in local newspapers and on local authority websites.
With experience you could become a senior portage worker with supervisory or management responsibilities.
Related industry information
Early years, children and young people’s services are represented by the Skills for Care and Development Sector Skills Council. This includes those working in early years, children and young people’s services, and those working in social work and social care for children and adults in the UK. The social care sector comprises two sub-sectors:
- Adult social care – with a workforce of nearly 1.5 million, accounting for 5% of England’s workforce, and 38,000 employers
- Children and young people – with an estimated workforce of 2.7 million
Early years, children and young people’s services provide publicly funded services accessed by between 1.5 and 2.5 million families per year, including early years education, childcare, children’s social care, family support, child protection, fostering and adoption services. There are more than 500,000 workers delivering these services in England.
[N.B. Following the change of Government on 11th May, all statutory guidance and legislation referred to here continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise, but this document may not reflect Government policy.]
- The children and young people’s social care workforce includes:
- Over a quarter of a million people working within early years and childcare settings, with 165,200 employed in full day care and 58,300 workers in sessional day care
- An estimated 111,484 nannies
- An estimated 1,152 portage workers in England (who provide a home-visiting service for pre-school children who have developmental or learning difficulties, physical disabilities or other special needs)
- About 1,985 in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)
- An estimated 7,500 residential childcare workers in children’s homes and 2,100 in care homes for disabled children
- 25,460 full-time equivalent social workers
- Approximately 37,000 foster families in England
- Approximately 14,000 learning mentors
- 2,247 educational psychologists
- Between 3,000 and 5,000 education welfare officers in England
- 65% of full day care provision is privately run, with 22% of settings run by a voluntary organisation.
- The majority of sessional care settings are run by voluntary organisations or are privately run.
The children and young people’s workforce includes a wide range of workers, jobs and professional occupations, including:
- Early years and childcare – Early years/nursery teachers; Nursery nurses/workers; Portage workers; Nannies; Home Child carers; Heads of children’s centres; Volunteers in childcare settings
- Children and young people’s social care – children and family court advisory and support service officers, foster carers, residential childcare workers, children and family social workers
- Learning, development and support services (LDSS) – learning mentors, educational psychologists, education welfare officers, behaviour and education support teams, family support workers
National and regional data
[N.B. National and regional data are currently unavailable.]
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