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What makes a GREAT Support Worker!!

What makes a GREAT Support Worker!!

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Alastair Tulloch Support Work

As a Support Worker, you are in a rater unique position..... you may well be the person with the most regular access to the child or adult that you are working with.

As a result of this regular access, you are likely to have a much more detailed insight into their life than any other professional and therefore a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of their day-to-day reality.

Whilst I have seen support workers treated quite badly over the years by other professionals, I personally feel that these roles are vital and a great support worker has the ability to help a child or an adult effect substantial change in their life.

I began my career as a support worker. My cases were complex cases, many involving heavy drug use and child protection issues, domestic abuse and some supporting women involved in the sex industry. Thirteen years on, I can honestly say that it was the job that gave me the most satisfaction. It was emotional at times, tiring and draining at times and also frustrating, but working effectively with my clients to help them change their patterns of behaviour and support them to make changes in other areas of their lives and watch their paths slowly alter was incredibly rewarding.

So what makes a great support worker?

Compassion - A Personal Support Worker must showcase compassion, an essential characteristic of a good support worker. This trait goes a long way in helping to connect well with clients and handle their various needs with tenderness and warmth.

Trust and honesty – These go hand-in-hand and one leads to the other. The importance of honesty in this position cannot be underestimated.  You must be honest with your client, honest with other professionals and honest with yourself. This will help to build trust between you and your client.

Ability to motivate - A Personal Support Worker should have the ability to build clients’ self-esteem and self-confidence, and should be able to encourage his or her clients/residents/patients to be as active as possible, and to be as independent as they possibly can within the confines of their physical or emotional limitations.

Ability to be flexible and adaptable – This is crucial, circumstances can change quickly and so must your response. The nature of personal support work is such that each day can present new challenges and obstacles which both the client and the support worker must work together to overcome.

Being a problem solver - Personal support workers should also never develop the habit of making assumptions as to what each day will bring to each individual client. Thinking quickly on your feet in any situation is what makes an excellent support worker.

Being a team player and excellent communicator -  A support worker should also focus on the ability to work as part of a team, emphasising the worker’s stellar communication skills (both interprofessional and intra professional) and the ability to shift a workload as needed as part of this team.

A good attitude - Staff attitudes to individuals can create barriers when working with clients and if this happens it can be difficult to undo. Avoid making inappropriate assumptions, avoid any discrimination in your language or behaviour and avoid any approach which can be seen to be patronising.

A considered approach - Consider first and lasting impressions. Look at how you interact, at your dress, language and style and be open and honest in your approach. This early impression will affect the lasting relationship you have with your client.

This positive approach could get you noticed and be a gateway to future opportunities and professional development. If you are someone who is looking for a new challenge or someone who feels they have the right attributes to become a great support worker, then contact Vetro.  If you can answer "yes" to the following questions then Vetro want to hear from you:

  • Do you have the ability to develop relationships built on respect and trust?


  • Are you an effective communicator?


  • Do you have a positive, ‘can do attitude’ and are aware of people’s different needs?


  • Can you employ sensitivity and treat people as individuals - valuing their input and things that are important to them?


  • Do you possess a genuine interest in the welfare of the people you support and believe in each person’s potentials and strengths?


  • Can you empower each person you support to become more independent?


  • Are you flexible and open-minded and willing to adapt and change according to the situations that arise?


  • Are you a good problem solver, with the ability to work through difficult situations?


  • Are you honest with others and yourself?


  • Are you aware of your own cultural values, attitudes and knowledge and how this affects your work?


  • Are you aware of the difference between work relationships and personal relationships and how work relationships can be maintained professionally?


  •  Are you familiar with the current legislative and regulatory framework?


If the answer is "yes" then get in touch – Vetro doesn’t want just any support workers, we want great support workers.

If you want to make a difference to the lives of people as a Support Worker, we have lots of temporary and permanent work available. We are looking for the best candidates who are passionate about improving the lives of people in need of care and support.