Although the job title is similar, a support worker holds a slightly different role to a social worker. The two positions do have some overlapping responsibilities, but they aren’t exactly the same. Like a social worker, a support worker also works with vulnerable people to help them in a variety of ways. A support worker doesn’t need to have a degree or be registered with the relevant care professionals registry, unlike a social worker. Support workers help to provide emotional support, information, and practical support to those who need it. They could work with anyone from domestic abuse victims to recovering addicts.
You don’t need to have a degree to become a support worker, although if you do have one, it could be an advantage. It’s more important that you can demonstrate the right skills and qualities, as well as perhaps some relevant work experience. There are several ways to gain some useful experience, including completing work experience at school or volunteering. Although a degree isn’t necessary, some vocational qualifications can be useful. For example, you can study for a GNVQ in health and social care to learn more about the skills required and help you understand if support work is right for you.
Types of Support Worker
There are several areas of health and social care available for support workers to get involved with. A support worker can provide support to many different types of vulnerable (people) person, ranging from people with learning disabilities to people with mental health problems. They can provide support to elderly people, people who are ill or physically disabled, or people dealing with issues such as drug addiction. There are lots of paths a support worker can choose to follow.
Where do support workers work?
Support workers can choose to work in a range of different environments. Unlike social workers, they don’t tend to be office-based. Instead, they are more likely to be connected to one institution, whether it’s a nursing home or a young offenders institution. Some support workers visit people’s homes. One role could be to visit people in at home and help them to live independently, providing help with physical tasks or advice and support to help them do things for themselves.
The Job Market for Support Workers.
North East: £20,491
North West: £21,279
West Midlands: £19,374
East Midlands: £17,860
South West: £19,266
South East: £19,806
There is evidence that the demand for support workers is rising in some areas of the UK, such as Scotland, the East Midlands, and Wales. The number of available jobs for support workers has increased. Starting salaries for support workers are around £17,000 on average, depending on location, employer, and specialism. Salaries can increase to around £25,000 or £26,000, although the average salary for support workers across the UK is £20,563. Support workers can also advance into managerial positions, where they could expect to earn around £33,000. Salaries and job opportunities vary between regions and fields of expertise, so it’s important to consider both of these factors.