“About the only thing that comes without
effort is old age.”
Training to be a ‘Live in Carer’ in the UK is the first of your steps once you have landed in the UK. Many of the bigger agencies offer their own in-house training, so when researching which agency to join ask them about their training and attaining your certificate. You want to be able to finish your training with your certificate in your hand not told it will be posted to you.
The reason I say this is a friend of mine joined an agency did the very intense training which she paid for and then they would not furnish her with her certificate. She was told she had to work a certain amount of time before she was given her certificate which meant she was limited to only working for that agency.
Most training programs are approximately five days in extent. I believe the in-house training is well worth it particularly if you are new to caring. Besides, the training you get to meet other carers and much is learned from their experiences.
I have made great friends with many of the ‘Live in Carers’, I think it’s because we have so much in common and understand how difficult this journey can be.
On completion of the Five-day, training you will be qualified, the agency will find you work very quickly and you will start your first assignment.
During this training period, the agency will apply for your DBS (Police Clearance) that initially will cost £70.00 and cover you for a year, thereafter you should join the updating service at £13.00 a year. Once you receive your DBS you have about 19 days to join the updating service, so don’t miss out. You need a DBS to do this work, you can register for it independently; however, it is a tedious process.
Your Care agency may also help you set up a bank account, and this is very valuable as it is difficult getting a UK bank account without having a UK address.
You will apply for a UTR (unique Tax Reference no.) this you will need to pay your tax. This can be done online via www.gov.co.uk
If you don’t have
You can of course study for the Care Certificate online and from anywhere in the world and do it before you arrive in the UK. The Care Certificate surrounds fifteen modules of care and you will attain a certificate for each module. However you will still need to do manual training physically and be passed in these courses too. Many agencies will appreciate your online training but still they want to know you and your work too before they are comfortable to place you.
Here is the link to studying for your care certificate online www.socialcare.tv
Once you have the Care certificate you still need to be assessed on site, check to see whether the agency will do this. Not all agencies will accept online training only and want you to take their training. It’s best to know in advance of taking
Every year you will have to update manual handling, medication administration and First Aid online and every other year you need to physically go to a training centre.
Although some agencies regard you as self-employed they may pay you direct! Which is strange and am not sure how legal that is? Some of the smaller self-employed agencies are much like recruitment companies; they find the work and forward it to you.
Some of the better self-employed agencies, visit the clients and do an assessment before sending in a Carer and some do not. Be warned that there is often a discrepancy between the care plan given to you from the agency and the situation you arrive into. There is a lot to contend with, and you must judge whether the situation is tolerable, manageable, and safe.
All the NI payments you make hereon in will count towards a government pension. So, it is a good idea to get well organised.
Keep a record of everything that you buy as much of it can be written off against tax.
If you have lived and worked in the UK before and paid into NI then you can check on the HMRC website to find out how much you have paid towards a pension and whether you are eligible for buying back years to make a full pension. It is a very worthwhile exercise.
There is much debate around this issue as the economic situation surrounding government-funded organisations is very lean. It is worthwhile investigating and knowing your individual situation; it also provides you with
Establishing a bank account in the UK is not easy as you need a UK address to qualify.
Though, there are ways around this, Lloyd’s bank offer a type of deposit account without proof of address as does Barclays and TSB. There are many cash cards you can use, but still it is best to establish a mainstream bank account as you will need this to pay for phone costs, transfer money back to SA, etc.
Some Agencies help you establish a bank account; Miracle is one such agency that arranges an interview at a local bank for you. When applying to an agency make sure to ask if they will assist in this regard. I think this is super important particularly if you have a family at home depending on this. It’s good to have the basics in place and know your hard-earned money is safe, and you can be on your way to establishing a credit re- cord in the UK.
It is wise to carry your own insurance as this protects you and your client. Many carers use Bluefin or Fish as they offer a unique ‘Live in Carers Insurance’. The cost of this insurance is approximately £85.00 a year.
If you’re a self-employed Carer or you run a home care business, you’re in a position of trust and responsibility, meaning you need an insurance policy that can support you if some- thing goes wrong.
Generally the agencies hold pubic liability insurance that will cover the Carers to some degree but will not cover the Carers’ health. NB always consider your own health first, do not risk your own wellbeing.
I know it is instinctive to help to the best of our abilities but be wise, do not attempt to lift anyone if they have fallen, you may and most likely will hurt your back. It is illegal. No insurance will cover you and when you cannot work you won’t get paid.
Ensure you are getting enough rest, the elderly are very demanding. Some of the elderly think it’s ok to wake you up a couple of times during the night, it is not.
I feel that the hours we work are long enough, and in truth I very seldom relax as I am are still under their roof. If they wake up and require me during the night I will charge this as an extra cost. If I am woken more than twice a night then a night carer is needed.
I know carers that have completely exhausted themselves and have become very ill because of it, don’t do it, value yourself.
The very astute Carers choose to fill out their own tax returns as it is relatively easy to do online. I would strongly advise using a tax consultant as I did and saved a lot of money.
At the end of the tax year, you simply send all your UK bank statements and a list of all your expenses and the consultant will do the rest. The average charge for this service is approx £140.00 a year.
At the moment you can earn £11,000.00 before any tax is de- ducted. The limits may increase so always check with the
HMRC. The rules around Care and Carers are constantly changing so keep an eye open for updates.
What you can claim for: Please note this list is not written in stone, if unsure ask a consultant as the rules constantly change.
Glasses / Contact lenses
Phone and running costs, computer repairs Shoes and clothes
Equipment , i.e., Mattress Topper, plugs, electrical equipment, sheets, blankets etc
The above items are negotiable and will depend on circumstance if these are acceptable, I always refer to a consultant.
You have to think of yourself as a business and your body and your mind are your machinery and your biggest asset. Keep it safe and well looked after.
Use this Gap year to your advantage, learn a new skill in your free time, exercise, keep to a healthy diet, read, learn, discover the new world around you. The UK has much to offer and is very diverse, it’s all there for you to enjoy.
Online courses: lynda.com, Future Learn, Oxford Home Study, edx.org, derby.ac.
Most of us have the need to transfer money back to our families; you want a service you can rely on and trust as it’s always a nerve-wracking process. I have been using 1st Contact since first arriving, advice given to me by another Carer, and they have been great.
You can choose a fast 24hr service or a 3-day service. I trust this company with my money. They have I believe a Standard Bank account in SA so hold funds there, and therefore transfers are fast and efficient. The reason for transfer I always state it is to support family. You can use your bank, but I have found the rates are better through a dedicated agency.
It is always wise to tell your bank that you are going to the UK to work so that they know to expect transfers from the UK. Do the same with your UK bank account, it is prudent to have constant communication with your banks.
After a while, you may be able to open a credit card, but only do this to establish a credit record in the UK. Your future may involve you applying for a mortgage or HP for a Car. Lay the groundwork whilst you are earning.
I wish you the very best for your new adventure and should you want to know more then simply buy my book ‘Any Age Gap Year’ – The Complete Guide to Becoming a ‘Live in Carer’ in the UK