Portage home visitor Portage worker, Portage support worker

Portage home visitors provide a home-visiting service for pre-school children with developmental or learning difficulties, physical disabilities or other special needs.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £19,000 to £32,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 36 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need:

  • experience of working with children aged 0 to 4 years
  • an understanding of child development

You may also need one of the following:

  • a relevant professional qualification in teaching, social work or nursing
  • a level 3 early years qualification, a foundation degree or degree in early childhood studies

Some local authorities will: 

  • accept you without qualifications if you have a lot of relevant experience
  • support you by offering voluntary Portage worker experience

Before you start work, you’ll also need:

The National Portage Association has more information about this career.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work with children and their families, and gain their trust
  • good communication and 'people' skills
  • good listening skills
  • initiative and the ability to work in small teams
  • good communications skills
  • sensitivity and tact when giving advice

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • observing children and talking to parents to identify their child’s skills
  • assessing which skills are most important for the child's future learning
  • suggesting a programme of activities for parents and their child to practise together
  • breaking down tasks into small steps
  • showing parents how to record their child's progress
  • encouraging parents and carers to meet each other and offer support
  • helping parents to apply for disability benefits
  • checking progress and agreeing on new goals
  • writing progress reports
You’ll also work closely with other professionals, like health visitors, social workers, physiotherapists and speech therapists.

4. Salary

Starter: £19,000 to £21,000

Experienced: £22,000 to £26,000

Highly Experienced: £28,000 to £32,000 (manager)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll work around 36 hours a week, which may be term-time only. Part-time jobs are often available. You may sometimes need to work in the evenings and at weekends to visit parents who work during the day.

You’ll be based in an office, but spend a lot of your time visiting families in their own homes.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become a senior Portage worker with supervisory or management responsibilities. 

You could also study to be an accredited Portage trainer.

Last updated: 29 September 2016