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Portage home visitor

  • Hours

    35 per week

  • Starting salary

    £16,000 + per year


The work

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.

Entry requirements

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.

More information

National Portage Association (Opens new window)

LGjobs (Opens new window)



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.

Job market information

This section gives you an overview of the job area that this profile belongs to. You can use it to work out your next career move. It can help if you’re looking for a job now or want to do some further training.

The 'Market statistics' charts are based on figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The list of job vacancies under 'Apply for jobs' is from the Universal Jobmatch database. The vacancies are not from the National Careers Service.

Median income: Health support
Avg Inc
UK Sector
27017 25368
Gender: Health support
Female Male
68 32
Working pattern: Health support
Part-time Full-time Self-employed
33 58 9
Gaps in sector due to skills shortages: Health support
This sector All vacancies
22.1 16.2
Employment forecast: Health support
Forecast Employment Figures
Year Predicted nos. employed
2014 276000
2015 279000
2016 284000
2017 290000
2018 296000
2019 302000
2020 307000

Jobs available on Universal Jobmatch

DateJob TitleCompany NameLocation
17/04/2014Public Health Nurse/Health VisitorNHS Forth ValleyBonnybridge
15/04/2014Visitor Services & Marketing OfficerBraintree District Museum Trust LimitedBraintree
09/04/2014Visitor Services Assistants - CasualDerby MuseumsDerby
31/03/2014Catering & Visitor AssistantsMonmouthshire County CouncilCaldicot
27/03/2014Visitor Experience Co-ordinatorWhirlow Hall Farm TrustSheffield

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