Family support workers help and advise families with long or short-term difficulties.
Salary range: £18,000 to £35,000
How to become a family support worker
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could do a:
- Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care
- Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could complete a children, young people and families practitioner higher apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
Experience is essential when applying for training or jobs. You can get this through paid or voluntary work in:
- children’s homes
- family refuge centres
- probation services
- family community centres
- mental health services
- youth projects
Employers will expect you to have:
- experience in working with children, young people and their families
- a minimum of a level 3 qualification in childcare, social work, social care, counselling, youth work or education
You can find out more about careers in support work from Think Care Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- excellent verbal communication skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
For many roles you may be expected to have a full, clean driving licence.
What you’ll do
In this role you could:
- work with people who have drug or alcohol addiction
- support a parent who is in hospital or prison
- support clients who have marital or financial difficulties
- support a child or parent with a disability
- attend court sessions that deal with care orders for children
- work with social workers to assess a family’s needs when a child returns home after being in care
- support people with language barriers who are struggling to access services
- help clients to develop parenting and home management skills
You could work in an office, at a client’s home or in a court.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience and qualifications you could focus on a particular area, like working with people with disabilities.
You could also become a team leader, managing a group of support workers, or apply to be an assistant manager of a family centre or refuge.
Experience in family support may help if you want to move into social work.