“We grow because we struggle, we learn and overcome”.
– R. C. Allen
There are thousands of Care Agencies in the UK, and it is
sometimes difficult working out which is the best one to choose.
Some of the larger UK agencies advertise in countries abroad including South Africa, Spain, and Australia. Some even have their own representatives in
these countries including Consultus Care, Constantia Care and Helping Hands.
There are two distinct types of agencies that provide Live-in Care to British Citizens.
The Self Employed ‘Live-in Care Agency’
The Employed ‘Live-in Care Agency’
And there are variations of the above.
You are responsible for your own taxes and may claim back on expenses incurred.
You do not get paid holidays or sick pay.
You will not receive a pension.
You will not be micromanaged
You get to choose the Client and their circumstances to some degree.
You choose how long you wish to remain with a client. Your fees are higher
You will be paid for holidays and sick leave
You will be micromanaged Your fees will be generally lower
The Clients are often semi funded by the government, meaning their circumstances may not be as privileged as the self-funding or private client.
I have always chosen to be self-employed as I can claim back on Tax and I prefer to remain autonomous.
Some that are new to ‘Live in Care’ opt for employed as Holidays are earned, sick pay is covered, and the agency may contribute to a pension. The working hours may be better, though unlikely! I would look into their terms and conditions very carefully, their rates will quite likely be lower, you will be highly regulated and constantly monitored and microman- aged.
Each agency is different, and it is important for you that you make an informed choice at the beginning.
The Agency I chose to join from SA was Miracle Workers, though subsequently, I have joined quite a few others as it is best to have options should you suddenly need work. There are good and bad agencies as there are good and bad clients.
Miracle offers great in-house training at their centre in Wales, and you get to stay with them and other carers for five days, allowing plenty of time to ask questions and get a better idea of what lies ahead. They have a history of approximately twenty-two years and their client base is largely upmarket. A few agencies prefer to use experienced Carer’s and do not offer training and may offer the best rates, it’s a case of luck in getting a great client, a decent situation, and fair fees.
This is your biggest and most important decision. I work for Miracle Workers and believe them to be honourable and fair. Consultus Care too has a good name and I have met many Carers who work for them and enjoy the experience. Consultus generally work on a 2 week on two weeks off rota though for long haul carers they will work out a rolling schedule to keep you constantly busy.
I prefer doing long assignments as long as the client and circumstances suit me and that is part of the reason I chose Miracle workers. However, they too may have shorter assignments. This world is constantly in change all you can do is make thorough investigations before committing yourself to an unknown.
Of course, each job you get sent to will be different and it is out of the hands of the agency as to how difficult the client is. The job is only as good as the Client and Clients’ circumstances.
The self-employed agencies charge the client a weekly fee for sourcing you the carer and for ensuring back up cover should it be needed. For this, they charge a weekly fee of circa £100 – £150 a week.
I have heard of agencies that to my mind are completely crooked and make a 100% profit off the back of the Carer every day, restrict access to the care certificate, make it impossible to get a bank account, in other, words hold you hostage.
Make sure at the beginning you choose a reputable agency. I would recommend self-employed. Once you are trained and have some experience register with other reputable agencies, providing a steady stream of work.
A list of Agencies can be found at the end of this book in the last Chapter named ‘Important Info’.
Draft an introductory Email and attach the following:
A Cover Letter
3 Business References
2 Personal References
Copy of Driver’s License (back and front)
Copy of Passport
Police Clearance (from your home country)
Copy of Passport (right to live and work in the UK) A UK NI if you have one
Proof of your Address in SA
Work History Doc
DBS (this is the British Police Clearance Certificate) Certifications or Qualifications
A Smiley Photograph (By this I mean a happy, smiley Photograph of yourself, this the agencies attach to your profile to future clients)
Keep all these documents in a folder on your desktop, you will be using them again and again, probably wise to have them on a flash drive too and share to the cloud i.e. iCloud or Google docs, whichever is your preference.
Once you are happy with your cover letter and, introductory email, select the agencies you want to apply to and press send.
Make a note of what time you sent the email and diarise a time to phone or Skype the agency.
Many agencies conduct Skype Interviews and once you are accepted you are on your way.
Make three or four copies of all these documents and get them certified either at the post office or bank. Keep all copies and have them ready. To find out more take a look here https://www.mysixtypluslife.com/the-complete-guide-to-becoming-a-live-in-carer-in-the-uk/