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The 4 Most Important Skills for Support Workers

By Andy – Arch Care Services

If you’ve ever spent time supporting other people, in either your personal or professional life, you’ll know that it is one of the most satisfying and enriching things you can do, but it’s also challenging, emotionally and physically. It takes a special kind of person to work in the social care industry, and you need a particular set of skills, but here at Arch Care Services we believe that everyone has the ability to be a support worker, and we will always be happy to recruit people who are looking to enter the industry for the first time. If you’re thinking about a career change, or you’re just starting out and are considering support work, these are the skills that you should focus on.

1. Compassion

Let’s show people that we care!

It seems obvious, but having a caring, warm attitude and an ability to empathise is one of the most important skills you can have in this industry. Support workers spend time with a wide range of individuals, some of whom have lived challenging lives or may have experienced things that impact their emotions, their behaviour and their outlook. Our role is to work with our service-users in a non-judgemental manner, and make sure that we provide a service that is based on warmth, understanding and patience. It is claimed that the most important factor in the recovery of individuals who suffer with mental ill-health is their relationship with their support networks, so it is vital that we do all that we can to foster those relationships. This can sometimes be challenging, and we will always provide our support workers with all the support they need to ensure that they can continue to provide a high quality service.

2. Flexibility

Not that kind of flexible!

This one is slightly less obvious! As a social care provider, we organise and deliver support across wide geographical areas to hundreds of people every single day, so as I’m sure you can imagine the organisation of this support is a complex undertaking! We also provide support during times when most people aren’t at work, including evenings, weekends and occasionally overnight. Support workers need to be able to work flexibly, taking on shift work at unsocial hours sometimes and ideally being available to help to cover shifts when needed. In return, we also try to be as flexible as possible with our support staff, and will always do our best to work around unusual hours of availability and accommodate time off during the week if this is needed. There’s a reason why a lot of our support workers are parents and need time off for the school runs!

3. Confidence

Grow a fantastic beard if it helps you to feel confident!

We love it when our staff bring their personalities to their role! We all have skills and talents in different areas, and the people that we support appreciate getting to know you and your own individual approach. We encourage our staff to be creative and energetic, because we believe that this is the best way to provide a great service! We trust our support workers, and allow them to operate without us constantly breathing down their necks, which means that confidence and an ability to work without supervision is vital to being a good support worker, although we will always be available to support our staff if things get difficult!

4. Attention to Detail

Expect paperwork and you won’t be disappointed!

Everything that we do in social care is based on a plan, an assessment, a report, a policy or a regulation, and all of these things are vitally important. No one likes paperwork, but when you’re a support worker paperwork is a big part of your life, and completing that paperwork accurately, punctually and in full will be required. There’s nothing worse as a social care employer than needing a log or record for something very important and finding that it hasn’t been completed, or it lacks detail, or something important is missing. Learning to pay attention to details of the service users you support and log that information accurately is not only important, it will help to get you noticed and progress within the industry, because the higher you go within social care the more time you spend on paperwork, and the more important that it will be that it’s completed correctly!

If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! Support work is one of the most fulfilling jobs you can do! Every day is different, you meet some really interesting people, and you get to go home at the end of the day knowing that you really made a difference.

If I’ve convinced you, why not head over to our Careers page here and check out our current vacancies? We’re always hiring and we’d love to hear from you!

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