How to become a Live-in Carer – The road to Caring from SA to the UK
Being an over mid-way 40 something and with my offspring finishing school and leaving the country; I suddenly found that there was a chasm in my life. I had looked after, cared and nurtured her from birth till 18 and all of a sudden she was gone! I had gone from mother, friend and carer into a void. Yes it’s called empty nest syndrome.
My first thought was to collect animals and nurture them. But obviously there are restrictions to this and in the main finance. I came upon a website with regards to caring in the UK, and as I am one of the fortunate few; I was born there and hold an EU (who knows how long that is going last) passport I could quite easily go. So I began to explore whether I could become a carer in the UK..
Researching how to become a Live-in Carer
Whether caring was my forte or not, I was determined to give it a go. The pound/rand exchange rate made it even more lucrative. And certainly with the situation in SA being as it is with regards to white males and females working in the country; this was an astute financial way forward.
I searched through all the websites for caring in the UK and believe me it is a huge industry. I decided to contact the one that had the best references with regards to training which would include accommodation. Please note at this point that accommodation and travel can be extremely expensive when using rand – and don’t ever convert you will cry.
I settled for the biggest care company who gave the longest training and believe me it was well worth it. The training was intensive and the only loophole being that you would have to work for them for a minimum of 12 weeks thereafter. But they accommodated you! How bad could that be?
So I took my SARS tax refund of approximately 25k, completed the applications forms, jumped through millions of hoops – police clearance included and boarded a flight to the UK.
How I became a Live-in Carer
Luckily for me, I was able to start my training in May which is the beginning of summer in the UK. Do not – whatever you do – start just before winter – as a South African winter is immensely hard here and you lose contact with the folk in SA due to the time difference. 2 hours does make a huge difference when you are caring and finishing at 22:00 as it will be midnight in SA and your friends and family do not want to chat at that time of night. It is also the most depressing time of the year; dark early at night and late in the morning, cold, miserable and just downright sad.
On a brighter note – I landed at Heathrow and luckily was met by family and friends so not too strange, I had given myself a couple of days to relax before starting the course. I was dropped off at the accommodation the night before the course started. This was interesting as it took me back immediately to boarding school days. Nice rooms etc., shared bathrooms and kitchen. Most of the ladies were from SA with a sprinkle of French and others.
Up and at it the following day and to give credit where credit is due the course was intense. Pass marks were high and you were constantly watched with regards to behaviour and what you did and didn’t do. I believe that the training given was of the highest standards and I, even though nervous, felt that I was capable of doing what was needed of me in a job situation.
The process of finding a client was done towards the end of the course. You were ‘placed’, which entailed discussing the proposed client with the staff; being asked how you felt about it. If all went well you were placed in that position at on successful completion of training
Once you have qualified, whether you want to work for a care company, on a self-employed basis, privately or for an agency; then you should make sure that you construct a polished Care Assistant CV or Live-in Carer CV.