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Social work assistant Community support worker, home care officer, social services assistant

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Social work assistants give advice, guidance and support to help people with their physical, emotional and social needs.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,500 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need skills in English and maths for communicating and writing reports.

Some employers may expect you to have at least 1 year’s experience of working with people in a caring role.

You may also find it useful to have a relevant health or social care qualification.

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You'll need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Think Care Careers has information and advice about careers in adult social care. 

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • tact, patience and the ability to cope in difficult situations
  • the ability to build good working relationships
  • the ability to work in teams with other professionals
  • problem-solving skills
  • organisational skills
  • IT skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll work with social workers and other professionals to support a range of clients including children at risk and people with physical or learning disabilities. You might also work with:

  • families under stress
  • older people
  • people with mental health problems 

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • contacting clients and following up enquiries
  • advising clients and their families about help that's available
  • visiting people at home to check how they are
  • following a social worker’s care plan, and sometimes creating your own
  • keeping records and writing reports
  • keeping up to date with the law
  • going to meetings with your department and other agencies
  • liaising with other health and care professionals

4. Salary

Starter: £12,500 to £16,000

Experienced: £17,000 to £22,000

Highly Experienced: £25,000 (manager)

You may work for a specialist recruitment agency. Hourly rates for agency work can be between £7 and £11.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

In a full-time job you'll work around 37 hours a week. You could work fixed hours or in shifts, including evenings, weekends and public holidays.

You could work in residential homes and hospitals. You might also work in the community where you'd be visiting clients in their homes.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could work towards qualifying as a social worker. You could do this yourself, or with support and funding from your employer.

You could also move into related careers like family support work or counselling.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018