How to become a support worker for adults with learning disabilities
Working with individuals who have learning disabilities can be one of the most rewarding careers in support work. With over 7 million support workers in Britain alone and 14% of those caring for those with learning disabilities, the rewarding nature of this role makes it a hugely popular career choice.
If being a part of an individuals journey to independence sounds like something you'd be interested in, please read on to find out why becoming a support worker might just be your dream job.
What does a learning disabilities support worker do?
Support workers engage with individuals who have learning difficulties in a variety of settings. If you are a support worker who works with adults who have learning disabilities, you are likely to be working either on a one to one basis or with a group of individuals living together in a supported environment.
For example, some of your service users may live almost independently and therefore you may only be expected to provide emotional support and help to build social skills. However, some may rely on your support for much of their everyday lives and therefore the list of requirements may be longer.
Your days will be varied as the level of care you provide for each individual client will be as individual as the person you are supporting. You could be involved in assisting individuals with any type of physical activity such as helping them exercise or aiding them in other activities such as shopping, playing games or cooking and cleaning their home.
As a support worker, you will offer your opinion or advice on activities or issues that arise, but ultimately the decision of the person you are caring for must be fully respected.
What types of people do learning disabilities support workers engage with?
The term ‘learning disability’ is a vast term for the way in which a person might struggle to learn in the conventional sense, throughout their life. Therefore, the types of a learning disability you may encounter will be varied and as such, the amount of support you provide to each client will vary. For example, a mild learning disability will affect a person differently to someone who needs consistent support.
For example, some of the service users that you may support will only require help with one or two issues within their lives. However, others will struggle to communicate and can be withdrawn from others. In every case, the focus is on responding to the client’s needs and treating them with respect, helping them to live as independently as possible, even if that's in a care home setting.
What are the key qualities of learning disability support workers?
- Working with adults who have learning disabilities requires patience. Support workers must be caring and enjoy helping others and also have the ability to connect emotionally even with people who think differently.
- Being able to calm people who are upset and know when to step back from difficult situations are desirable attributes to have when entering the care sector. You will also need to have a strong character and be able to stand up for those who you support should they face discrimination.
- You should have the ability to build clients’ self-esteem and self-confidence and should be able to encourage your clients and residents to be as active as possible and to be as independent as they possibly can within the confines of their physical or emotional limitations.
- Being flexible and adaptable are crucial personality traits of support workers. Circumstances can change quickly and so must your response. The nature of 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.
- You will know that building relationships with individuals whilst you support them is an incredibly important aspect of your role. However, the biggest part of being a support worker is your ability to actively promote independence and wellbeing in a person with learning disabilities.
- Although you will generally be under the supervision of others, you will need to be able to make decisions independently when clients need immediate help. A role as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities can be an extremely fulfilling job for people who enjoy empowering others.
Why go into learning disability support work?
As a Support Worker, you’ll learn a lot about yourself, the people you are supporting and the needs of those who you work with. Not just from the exceptional training provided by Vetro Recruitment, but also from the people you work with and the people you work for. Being a Support Worker is an eye-opening experience, and provides the chance to work with people from all walks of life with varying needs of support.
Your role as a learning disabilities support worker involves helping others, not being judgemental about a situation, and providing support to change lives. It can be difficult so as mentioned above, you will also need patience, compassion and understanding. As a Support Worker, you will be assisting your clients to lead independent and fulfilling lives. A big part of your role will be supporting people to do their favourite things and try new activities suggested by you and other staff. You will ensure they reach their full potential.
What can Vetro Recruitment’s Care team offer you?
Not only will you be working in the most rewarding sector there is, but you'll also be in control of when you work and where you work. You will have the chance to work at a variety of care services across South Wales (Cardiff and the Vale, Torfaen, RCT, Blaenau Gwent, Newport and more) as we support residential homes for adults with Learning Disabilities and Mental Health needs.
Many of our homes require 12 hour days or waking nights. This is similar to most residential services, although there are also sometimes sleep-in shifts available which can boost your hours and pay! We do have other services who require various shifts so it is best to get in contact about what you are looking for in particular.
In an ideal world, you will have at least six months of experience supporting adults with complex needs. On the other hand, we also love giving people the opportunity to experience a new sector who have supported other client groups within the Social Care sector but always wanted the chance to support adults with Learning Disabilities!
As a learning disabilities support worker, you will earn between £8.80 and £9.86 per hour including holiday pay. You'll be paid on a weekly basis and have the choice of earning holiday pay straight away or accruing your holiday throughout the year.
Vetro Recruitment offers all care of our sector candidates the opportunity to take part in free training sessions aimed at providing you with everything you need to excel within your role as a support worker within the care sector.
In line with changes made to the current qualification structure, those who do not currently hold an NVQ or QCF qualification will need to undertake the newly set out CORE qualification to ensure that they are registered with Social Care Wales by 2022.
If you'd like to know more about gaining the CORE qualification and registering with SCW, please fill in the form below to register your interest: