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Independent resettlement & recruitment guide for serving Armed Forces & Veterans

Care Work

Care Work


13 Sep, 2022

The healthcare sector, of which care work forms a significant part, is an amazingly diverse area of employment that offers a range of opportunities to Armed Forces leavers. Could you work in care?

What is care work?

Care work comprises a diverse range of roles, covering administration, logistical support, and various levels of medical assistance. Approximately one-fifth of health professionals operate in the private sector, with many individuals self-employed in specialized areas like physiotherapy, podiatry, and holistic therapies. Given the escalating life expectancy and prevailing staff shortages in social care, employment prospects, particularly for care workers, are abundant and in high demand.

Care assistants, also referred to as care workers or support workers, play a pivotal role in this sector. These professionals provide invaluable assistance to individuals facing challenges in their daily activities. Their clientele includes children, people coping with physical or learning disabilities, elderly individuals, or families. They may render services in private residences, sheltered accommodations, day centres care homes or nursing homes.

The work schedule in care roles often varies, encompassing evenings, weekends, and, in some instances, overnight stays on a rotational basis, especially in residential care settings. Certain positions may involve live-in arrangements.

For those contemplating a career in care work after leaving the armed forces, exploring opportunities in this sector could offer a rewarding path focused on supporting and enhancing the lives of individuals in need. Consider researching specific care worker training programs or certifications that align with your interests and aspirations in this field.

What skills do care workers need?

Care workers require a blend of innate traits and learned skills to excel in their roles, echoing the commitment often seen in individuals joining the armed forces to contribute to communities. Core attributes include the capacity to operate calmly, independently, and decisively while navigating challenging situations, which resonates with the essential qualities valued in the Services.

Additionally, practical proficiencies applicable to various healthcare sectors contribute significantly to a care worker's effectiveness. Skills such as driving, operating technical equipment, coordinating resources, and demonstrating initiative – both in individual tasks and collaborative team efforts – are invaluable in the diverse landscape of care work.

For individuals transitioning from the armed forces into the care sector, these traits and skills serve as a strong foundation to fulfil the compassionate and demanding responsibilities inherent in care work.



As a care assistant you will need:

  • a friendly and caring approach
  • a genuine desire to help people
  • the ability to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds
  • tact and sensitivity
  • respect for others
  • patience and a sense of humour
  • reliability and flexibility
  • team-working skills and the ability to use your own initiative
  • the ability to work to health and safety guidelines
  • the capacity to remain calm under pressure.


The exact nature of your duties will vary depending on where you work, but your day-to-day role is likely to include:

  • helping with daily personal care such as washing, dressing, using the toilet and feeding
  • carrying out general tasks such as housework, laundry and shopping
  • helping families get used to new caring responsibilities
  • working with other health and social care professionals to provide individual care and development plans.

How do I qualify for care work?

Upon commencing as a care assistant, your employer typically provides on-the-job training. This training often encompasses various aspects, including first aid, food hygiene, health and safety protocols, and safe handling techniques for assisting individuals. Organizations might also encourage pursuit of further qualifications, such as the level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care, facilitating progression into roles like senior care worker. As you advance in your career, opportunities to acquire higher-level qualifications become available.

For individuals transitioning from military service to the caregiving sector, this approach offers a practical means to acquire necessary skills and certifications essential for a fulfilling career in care work.

Finding a Job in Care Work

A prevalent pathway into a career in care involves gaining experience through volunteering with organizations that provide support to vulnerable individuals. Personal experiences in caring for someone familiar can also be valuable. While not mandatory, pursuing relevant qualifications can significantly enhance prospects in this field. These qualifications, accessible for those seeking to enter or already engaged in paid or voluntary roles, offer a valuable way to advance in this career. The Skills for Care website offers a comprehensive list of qualifications and further insights into pathways for entering this profession.

Use your ELC

Under the ELC scheme, a wide range of learning can be taken, provided it is offered by an approved provider listed on the ELCAS website and is at level 3 or above. For full details of how to make the most of your ELC, refer to the in-depth features elsewhere on the Quest website

Care sector apprenticeships combine home and hospital visits with clinics and other vital assistance for people who need extra help. Apprenticeships include: adult care worker, social worker and physiotherapist. Use your favourite search engine to find out more, or click here to find out more.