How to Become a Support Worker

How to Become a Support Worker

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A support worker is someone who provides additional support to people who require it.

A support worker is someone who provides additional support to people who require it. For children and young people it could be within a learning environment (usually a school), or it could be working within a residential home. The special needs could be anything from communication needs, emotional needs, behavioural difficulties and more. Providing support to people helps them to achieve well and although it is a demanding career, it is a very rewarding one. Below we will guide you on how to become a support worker.

How to become a support worker

Becoming a support worker can be an extremely worthwhile career decision, so if you are planning on taking that step then keep reading.

  • The first thing you will need to do is to decide whether a career as a support worker is right for you. That includes understanding the duties and responsibilities that go hand in hand with being a support worker.
  • Secondly, find a suitable training course – there are plenty of home learning courses meaning that you can study from home without the hassle of attending college on a regular basis.
  • Once qualified you can start applying for support worker roles within your community.

What being a support worker entails

Although no two days are the same, there are some tasks that are at the core of being a support worker. They include:

  • Providing day to day support to individuals
  • Assisting with field trips
  • Dispensing medication as required
  • Supporting language, speech and communication
  • Supporting disabled children and young people
  • Dealing with emotional outbursts
  • Helping to encourage healthy behaviour

The skills of a good support worker

Due to the nature of the role, it is vital that a good support worker has the following skills:

  • Good time management – when your role is to support others you cannot be late to work
  • Good communication – as a support worker you will need to communicate with the person you are supporting, their family and other healthcare professionals
  • Caring – it goes without saying that you should be a caring person who wants to help others! Caring people make the best support workers
  • Patient – being a support worker is a challenging role that will test your patience
  • Being able to work as part of a team – you will need to liaise with other healthcare providers or family members on a regular basis
  • Flexible – the working hours could include early starts, late finishes, overnight and even some weekends. Having a flexible approach will help you to be a good support worker

Having a driving license might also prove to be advantageous, although this isn’t always a requirement.

Suitable courses

There are a few courses to choose from, including:

  • Support Work in Schools QCF Award Level 2 (approximately 180 hours to complete)
  • Specialist Support for Teaching & Learning in Schools Level 3 Diploma QCF (approximately 250 hours to complete – only suitable for those who are already working in a supporting role, either as a paid job or as a volunteer)
  • Additional Support for Children with Special Education Needs (approximately 90 hours to complete)

All of these courses can be studied as home learning courses.

What you’ll learn

Each course is split into modules and some of the things you can expect to learn include:

  • Child development
  • Young person’s development
  • Working with children and young people with special needs
  • Supporting children and young people
  • Working with communication special needs
  • Safeguarding children and young people
  • Equality and diversity in working with children and young people

Plus many more topics.

Why study at home?

The good news is that you can study how to become a support worker in the comfort of your own home. Choosing a home learning course means that you can work at your own pace with hours to suit you. Not having to attend college every week at a set time will save you time and money, as well as help you to manage your time efficiently. Whether you want to study in the evenings when you come back from work or study whilst your children are at school, home learning lets you do just that.

If you have the skills to become a good support worker then getting started is easier than you think. With the chance to study from home your new career as a support worker is easily within your grasp. Or learn more about becoming a family support worker by taking one of our family support worker courses.

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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