Care Assistant

Residential support worker Care home practitioner

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would provide care and support to people in a care home, in their own home or in the community. You’d help them lead happy, safe and fulfilling lives. 

Your work would involve helping someone complete day-to-day tasks and leisure activities. You might also take an active role in organising and reviewing someone’s care – this is called a key worker.

You would be responsible for writing support plans, which describe how someone wants to be cared for. 

Everyone you support would have different personalities and preferences. You’d make sure each person’s support plan was accurate, up to date and individual to them.      

There are different groups of people you could work with, including people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health conditions. 

Depending on the people you work with you would:

  • Check each person’s needs and keep records of their progress
  • Review support plans and find ways to improve someone’s care
  • Create a safe and positive living environment
  • Provide personal care, such as helping people wash, go to the toilet, dress and eat
  • Arrange leisure and creative activities
  • Promote opportunities for people to learn new skills
  • Help with daily living skills such as shopping and dealing with money
  • Liaise with people’s families and arrange family and home visits

You would work in a team with other health and social care professionals. You’d also work in partnership with other agencies including the NHS and local authority. It would be important to maintain good relationships with family members and carers.

With experience, you could be promoted to a care service supervisor and lead a team. Or you could manage a budget.

Working conditions


In a full-time job you would typically work around 37 to 40 hours a week, often on a shift rota including weekends, evenings and sleep-in duties. You may also be on call at times. Part-time work and job sharing are widely available.


You could work in a care home, in people's own homes or in the community. The work can be challenging as you may be supporting people with unpredictable behaviour. Each day will be different and there will be opportunities to do a range of activities.


You may have to travel to people's homes or spend time out in the community. A driving licence could be useful.

UK employment status



Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Caring for people
  • Being tactful
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Coping with pressure
  • Planning and organising
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You’ll need an SVQ in Social Services and Healthcare (SCQF Level 7). You can work towards this qualification on the job or through a Modern Apprenticeship. Your employer would support you with time to complete your qualification.    

You can also enter this role by completing an HNC in Social Services (SCQF Level 7) at college. 

You will also need

You would register with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and have approved membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

A driving licence is useful and may be required for some roles.

Helpful to have

Experience in a care-related job such as a care support worker. 

Qualifications and experience that show caring for people such as Skills for Work Health & Social Care (SCQF level 6) or Volunteering skills Award (SCQF levels 2-4).

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Social Services & Healthcare / Healthcare Support (SVQ level 2/3) if employed by NHS Scotland or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.