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How to start out on your career in care

Rebecca Pearson, General Manager, Bupa Care Services, Bupa Global & UK

Rebecca Pearson, General Manager, Bupa Care Services, Bupa Global & UK

It’s that time of year when school leavers will be looking to start their career.  This can be daunting and it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed, especially if you’ve just got your exam results and need to make some decisions.

For people who are looking to make a difference and are looking for flexibility, learning opportunities and a supportive team environment, the care sector can be a great option.

But where to start? And what attributes are potential employers looking for? For those who are considering a caring career, here’s some advice on getting started.

Draw on your existing skills

We know that more and more young people are looking for a career that helps them give back, and the care sector is one where you can really have a big impact on people’s lives.

Being caring and empathetic are key skills which will help you to go a long way, as well as being a good listener and communicator. We’re always working to provide the highest quality, person-centred care, so being able to form close working relationships with both colleagues and residents is really important.

And it may seem unexpected but an interest in tech can also come in handy. We’re using the latest technology more and more in our care homes, whether that’s to record notes on the go, monitor for falls or use online games and apps to have fun.

But don’t worry if you think you don’t have all the skills you need right away. In our sector there are lots of opportunities to learn as you go, and lots of people who want to help you succeed!

Learn on the job

The great thing is that many roles in the care sector don’t require specific qualifications. When you start a caring role you’ll be offered lots of training to help you provide safe care from day one.

We can also support you gain academic qualifications, such as GCSEs, apprenticeships leading to diplomas or working towards nursing qualifications.

For people who aren’t sure if they want to continue studying or enter the world of work, the care sector provides lots of opportunities to ‘earn while you learn’. This means that as well as good pay and benefits, you’ll earn transferable skills and qualifications that can set you up for life. The sky really is the limit!

The care sector provides a great starting point wherever you want to take your career, and at Bupa we are really proud that many of our people stay with us and develop their careers over the long term. For example, Helona Begum, one of our care home managers, has been with us since leaving school at 18. She initially came as a care assistant on her gap year and never left. She said:

“As soon as I walked in, I felt I was part of a team and was valued. With a great culture, positive working environment along with colleagues that had been within the business for such a long time, that really said it all to me. I know I could build a career here.”

Do your research

When it comes to getting a job in the care sector, doing research into the roles and the company is crucial. And think about what you’re looking for too. Is it learning opportunities, a friendly team, a competitive salary or good benefits? Maybe it’s all of the above. So it’s worth taking your time to find a role that aligns with your own values.

At Bupa we welcome people with lots of different experiences and backgrounds – after all our residents are as diverse as we are and it’s important that we reflect this diversity in order to provide the best care.

And there’s nothing better than doing practical work experience to see what suits you best. You might love caring for others, but you also might enjoy organising events and activities, or find that you would prefer to be in a kitchen environment or spend time outdoors. It’s important to try out different roles so you can find out what suits you best.

So whatever your interests and ambitions and whoever you are, the care sector has a role for you.



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