Working for Us - FAQ

If you are considering working for us then we would expect you to have lots of questions about what you can expect and how we are different from other companies.

Listed below you will find the answers to some of the questions we get asked regularly which we hope you will find useful, but if you have other questions that we haven’t covered or would like more information please do not hesitate to give us a call on: 01954 212881.

For a more detailed explanation on our recruitment and training processes please see Starting Your Role as a Care Assistant.

1. What does a Care Assistant Do?

As a care assistant you will help our customers to remain as independent as possible, whilst remaining in their own homes in familiar surroundings, close to family and friends.  You will encourage them to do as much as possible for themselves and above all help to brighten their lives and bring a smile to their faces.

You may help and support our customers in a multitude of ways including helping them to get in and out of bed, personal care, dressing, helping them with their medication, light domestic duties, drink and meal preparation, companionship, social outings, shopping and above all helping them to get the most out of life.  Social interaction is a key element of our service.

Every day is different and you will need to be adaptable and able to respond to our customers changing needs and requirements, acting in their best interests whilst giving them choice and treating them with dignity and respect.

Responding to the great variety of experiences you encounter whilst delivering care and support to others is one of the things that makes the role so enjoyable.

2. I don’t have any experience of care can I still become a Care Assistant?

Experience is not necessary as we provide full and comprehensive training for all aspects of the role together with the opportunity to gain the experience you need in a fully supervised environment.

Far more important is your personality, you will need to be kind, compassionate, empathetic, patient, reliable, have a positive outlook on life and enjoy meeting people and making them smile.

We positively want to encourage people to come into the social care sector to fulfil an essential service in the local community, our working conditions and the support we provide help people to balance other commitments such as managing a busy household with a rewarding and worthwhile career.

3. I am approaching retirement and only want to work part-time. Is this the right job for me?

Definitely, as you approach retirement you will have developed many life-skills that will equip you for a role as a care assistant and many of our longest serving staff work on a part-time basis, balancing work with other commitments.

As you approach retirement the role of a care assistant helps you to forge new friendships and relationships in your local community, bringing real value to you and others you look after.

4. I have a young family. Is the role of a Care Assistant suitable for me?

Absolutely, being a parent has already equipped you with many of the qualities that makes a great care assistant and we can offer the flexible working patterns that enable you to balance a busy family life with a worthwhile and rewarding career.

5. I want to build a long term career in Social Care, will being a Care Assistant help me?

Working as a care assistant will give you a good basic grounding in social care and enable you to learn and gain experience from the bottom up whilst also fulfilling a vital need.  To become an effective manager you need to be able to relate and understand what your staff have to do on day to day basis.  We can also offer you lots of opportunities to further develop your career and will support you to gain a professional qualification as part of a structured personal development plan in line with your career journey.

If you are considering nursing as a career then the experience of working as a care assistant will prove invaluable and will complement your long term career as a nurse.  Following a number of high level reviews by the NHS, particularly following the incidents in Stafford it was recognised that nurses needed to gain more experience in providing care to the whole person and not just treating their clinical condition. Therefore all educational establishments want to encourage their trainee nurses to have practical care delivery experience.

6. Do I have to pay for my training?

No, unlike many of our competitors all your training is fully paid, including your mandatory training which is paid at the equivalent of 30 hours at the end of your probationary period

7. Will I be offered a Guaranteed Hours Contract?

If you are available to work for us over a sufficiently long period of time across the whole week we will offer you a guaranteed hours contract for 16 hours from the start of your employment i.e. when you start the induction training and this will be increased at the end of your probationary period to reflect the average hours you have worked each week during your first 12 weeks with the company during your probationary period.

A guaranteed hours contract gives you the additional security and may help you to get a loan if you need it. It does however require a greater commitment from you to be available on a regular basis for work when you have said you will.

If you have a guaranteed hours contract you are not limited to the number of hours you can work and can work more hours if you want.

Many people still prefer a ‘zero’ hours contract which still gives them full employment status but also gives them flexibility to vary their working patterns and balance their work with other commitments.

8. How long does it take from first applying to starting work?

This can be from as little as one or two weeks depending on the receipt of references and your enhanced DBS check being received promptly.  Your first week of employment will be undertaking our induction training.

We fully realise that if you have applied and been offered a role you will want to start as soon as possible and we will do our utmost to speed up the process.  Equally if you are already working for another employer we will work with you to ensure a seamless transition from one job to another.

9. What hours will I have to work?

This is entirely up to you. The hours that you work are flexible so that you can fit them around your other commitments such as school runs, child care and even other full-time work commitments.  Our care assistants typically provide care and support anytime between 7 am and 10 pm, 7 days per week and we also have night work.

It is important to remember however, depending on your contract, that you will be providing regular support to our customers who are very dependent on you for their care. Therefore we do need reliability and consistency and once you have been offered and agreed to undertake work at particular times there is an expectation that you will work those hours, which could include alternate weekends and public holidays.

We will however try to be as flexible as possible and realise that unplanned emergency situations do arise and we will work with you to ensure that we can cater for these.  We work together as one big team and appreciate that you may help to provide care at times you would otherwise not normally be working on occasions.

10. Will I be doing 15 minute visits to my customers?

We don’t do 15 minute visits as we don’t believe this works for our customers or for you. The quality of the care that we provide is dependent not just on the tasks we undertake but the social interaction with our customers who value time to chat and want to be treated with dignity and respect and not rushed.

The length of our average visit is about one and a half hours, but can vary from 30 minutes to the whole day depending on the customer’s needs and requirements.

11. Will I have to travel between customers?

Our work is based in the community and therefore does require you to travel between customer’s homes unless you are working as a live-in care assistant.  We will always try to keep your travel to the minimum by allocating you customers close to your home and routing you to customers who are in the same area.  We will always try to ensure that you have adequate time to travel between customers which is calculated by our computer systems.  We want to make certain that you don’t feel pressurised and stressed by having to rush between visits which isn’t good for you or our customers.  We want you to feel relaxed when you are with our customers so that you can spend quality time with them.

Having a car is not essential,provision of electric bikes are available to care assistants within the Cambridge area.

12. Will I have to wear a uniform?

We will supply your uniform free of charge, along with all the required disposable gloves and aprons.

You will normally be expected to wear a uniform unless our customers specifically request that you don’t, for instance when you are providing companionship, going on outings or shopping trips.

We will also expect you to wear safe enclosed footwear and dress smartly.

13. Will I visit customers who are a different gender, ethnic background or religion to me?

Yes, you may do.  We will always try to match up our customers and staff so that they feel comfortable with each other and can form a good working and supportive relationship and we positively recognise and value the equality and diversity of all our customers.

If you are delivering care to a customer of a different gender to yourself then we will always discuss this with you and the customer before the visit so that you both feel comfortable and if necessary make appropriate adjustments where possible.

14. How much holiday am I entitled to?

You are entitled to paid annual leave equivalent to twenty-eight (28) days per year, inclusive of public holidays.  This is pro-rata if you work part-time and holiday pay accrues at 12.07% of your hourly rate for each hour you work during the holiday year.

Our holiday year runs from 1st April to 31st March each year.

15. Will I get Sick Pay?

You are entitled to paid Statutory Sick Pay during any period of absence due to illness where you are eligible under the rules of the scheme.

16. Will I be paid travel expenses?

Yes you will be paid mileage expenses between all your visits and if you have a break of more than one hour between your visits you will be paid your mileage to go home and back out to your next visit.  You will also be paid other reasonable expenses that you incur when delivering care and support to our customers, for instance when taking them out or doing the shopping for them.