All about residential support: what are the main duties and what key skills are needed?

All about residential support: what are the main duties and what key skills are needed?

All about residential support: what are the main duties and what key skills are needed?

You may have heard of SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities) education, which supports a wide range of pupils with their learning. But did you know there is a whole other sector called residential, where you can support young people in their homes?

Residential care does bear similarities to SEND support, in that you are supporting people with special needs or circumstances, however, (as the name states) residential sees you working with children and adults in a residential, or home setting.

If you have a passion for helping others and find pastoral care highly rewarding, residential may be a new career path for you. Find out more about the role, and how to get into residential care in this article.

Ready to look for residential work? View our vacancies or contact us today.

What does residential care entail? 

This exciting and rewarding role will see you supporting people physically and emotionally as well as in their personal development. Children and adults in these settings usually live away, or spend time away from home, and will sometimes have additional needs such as autism, severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties (SLD/PMLD), or social mobility needs. Adults and children will usually be placed in separate settings from each other, and what is required to care for people is different depending on their age group and individual needs.

Residential accommodation

Residential accommodation and subsequently SEND schools have been tailored to suit the needs of the people in them, so may look different to what you may expect. These homes have been designed with social and developmental spaces to help people learn and develop but to also give them an appropriate level of privacy and rest, along with living spaces. 

What are the duties of a residential support worker?

According to GOV.UK, a residential support worker’s daily duties include:

  • Providing one-to-one advice or group support sessions. 
  • Teaching daily living skills like budgeting and shopping. 
  • Helping residents become independent. 
  • Providing physical care of others, which could include bathing, toileting, dressing and feeding.
  • Providing fun and creative activities in a safe and supportive way. 
  • Speaking with residents' families and arranging family and home visits.
  • Monitoring and supporting the overall well-being of service users.
  • Ensuring children attend regular education and re-introducing education to children who have stopped attending school.

Other job roles within residential include:

  • Senior residential support workers: Similar role as above including incident reporting and higher-level duties.
  • Deputy manager: Responsible for managing staff and delegating budget.
  • Registered manager: Ensuring compliance with regulations and recruitment in line with Safer Recruitment Guidelines.
  • Therapeutic support workers and childcare practitioners: Following residential therapeutic models to deliver counselling and re-establishing relationships.

Preparing for adulthood

When residents are at an age and/or stage where they are ready to leave the setting, care workers should follow a procedure called preparing for adulthood. This includes preparation for further education or employment, independent living, cooking and personal care, community inclusion and looking after their health. 

The residential setting will take steps to ensure this is included in the curriculum while giving careers and life guidance. This tends to happen from Year 9 onwards. 

Why should I work in a residential setting?

If you find working with others and caring for people highly rewarding, this is the perfect chance to nurture those qualities. You will be working closely with children and vulnerable adults, helping them to build the foundations for a successful life outside of the residential setting.

If you’re looking to move into managerial roles within this sector or become a social worker, working as a residential support worker is the perfect place to start. You’ll gain a further understanding of how these settings work, as well as hands-on skills to take into the next stage of your career.

Overall, a role in a residential setting does require a strong commitment to supporting the academic and personal development of those in the setting. However, this means your support and work will have real-life positive effects on the lives of those under your care, both in the setting and beyond.

I’m interested, what skills do I need to be a residential support worker?

Experience working with vulnerable children or adults is essential to this role, so those who have worked in SEND settings or with vulnerable people will have the right experience. You will also be working one-to-one with people, so if you have experience as a teaching assistant or a learning support assistant, you can use these transferable skills. We recommend at least six months of relevant experience to work in a residential support role with children, such as a SEND learning support assistant or teaching assistant.

Having qualifications is also recommended, such as:

  • Level 2 GCSE in Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care 
  • Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce 
  • Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice 
  • Level 3 Diploma for Residential Childcare 

As for training, you will need to train or be willing to train in:

  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults and/or safeguarding children 
  • Health and safety 
  • Food hygiene 
  • First aid 
  • Manual handling 
  • Medication 
  • Infection control 

Don’t worry if you aren’t trained in all the topics above, it's common for residential settings to provide this training to people who show they have the personal skills to work well in a residential setting. 

How can TeacherActive help?

TeacherActive is one of the biggest education recruitment agencies in the UK, which partners with residential settings across England and Wales.

Our knowledgeable, dedicated consultants can match you to residential settings in your local area, using your skills and personal preference to find the right role for you.

Want to explore a career in residential? Contact TeacherActive today.