Residential support worker

Residential support worker Jobs

Residential support worker jobs… did you know?

Similar jobs: Care officer, residential care worker

When you’re a residential support worker it’s your job to look after the health, safety and comfort of children or vulnerable adults who are in care.
So what does residential care mean? You could be working in a children’s home or retirement home. You could be working in a hostel, or a house that has been specially adapted to meet the needs of those living there.
You could be working with:

  • Children in care
  • Adults with physical or learning disabilities
  • People living with poor mental or physical health
  • People with addiction issues

It’s your job to help vulnerable people have a safe, positive living environment in the place they are currently calling home.

Industry: Social care

Residential support worker job trends

How much money can you make as a residential support worker?

£17,000 – £27,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £17,000 and £27,000 a year as a residential support worker in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a residential support worker will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

Your life and work experience of caring for vulnerable people is often more valued by employers than your qualifications.
Having said that, you may benefit from doing a college course or other training in youth work, child care or health and social care. Many courses offer work placements which can help you build more experience. You can do a part-time course while already working (for example, as a healthcare assistant). Full-time courses are also available.
Example courses for this role include:

  • 14-19 Diploma in society, health and development
  • BTEC national certificate or diploma in health and social care
  • Foundation degree in a social care-related subject


You can get into this job through completing a residential support worker apprenticeship. This gives you the opportunity to earn a salary working in health and social care while getting structured learning that leads to an industry-recognised qualification.
The NHS runs apprenticeships related to health and social care.
NHS apprenticeships are on offer at four levels:

  • Intermediate (Level 2 – equivalent to five GCSES (9-4/A*-C)
  • Advanced (Level 3 – equivalent to two A-levels)
  • Higher (Levels 4-7 – equivalent to foundation degree or above)
  • Degree apprenticeship (Levels 6-7 – equivalent to a degree)

There are some entry requirements for NHS apprenticeships. For example, to successfully apply for an Advanced Level Apprenticeship you may need four or five GCSEs or their equivalents, sometimes in particular subjects.
To start a higher apprenticeship with the NHS you may need a Level 3 qualification or enough healthcare-related experience to show you have the skills and knowledge to apply.
Visit NHS Healthcare Careers to see the range of healthcare apprenticeships on offer.

Career Progression

With time and experience you could boost your level of responsibility and become a senior support worker, team leader or manager. You could also do extra training to become a social worker.

What experience do you need for residential support worker jobs?

Work experience

It can help your application if you have previously done work experience related to caring for vulnerable people. Both professional and life experience are considered relevant to this role. For example, employers will consider it relevant life experience if you have been a carer or provided regular support to a member of your family.
If you do a college course in health and social care, they usually include a work placement as part of the course, which can help you gain experience.
Any work experience where you have demonstrated your healthcare skills can help your application. Visit the NHS Work Experience website to find healthcare work experience opportunities in your area.
Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work experience placements on a college or university course

Volunteering and extra-curricular activities

Volunteering is a very caring thing to do because you are choosing to give up your time to help other people. If you have volunteered to help vulnerable people like the homeless or elderly people, this can help your CV stand out to employers.

What skills do you need for residential support worker jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs like this one include:

  • Great communication skills – you will need to communicate clearly and respectfully with vulnerable people and make sure they understand the options which are open to them.
  • Patience, empathy and being able to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Office skills like using a computer and filing, so you can update and track records.
  • Organisation and self-management skills to turn up on time and make good use of your working hours.
  • Being able to stay calm and mentally resilient in challenging situations. Resilience is a self-belief skill you can build as a Youth Employment UK Young Professional.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a residential support worker do?

Your activities might vary if you’re working with young people or the elderly, or if you’re working in a care centre of adapted houses or a hostel.

Some day-to-day job responsibilities include:

  • Giving physical care (which could include dressing, feeding, and bathing)
  • Giving counselling to individuals or groups
  • Keeping records and writing reports which could help with future care plans
  • Creating opportunities for creativity and fun
  • Helping residents deal with challenges with an aim to becoming independent (such as teaching them everyday skills like shopping or budgeting)

Your first steps into residential support worker jobs

Residential support worker jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Trainee support worker
  • Trainee recovery worker
  • Trainee support officer
  • Apprentice support worker

Useful organisations and links for healthcare and social care careers

Careers Help
Your Life and Career Choices
Become a Young Professional