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What Quality Really Makes a Difference in Residential Care

We recently decided to really look into ‘what qualities are the most important’ for people working in residential childcare- what really makes an applicant and future employee stand out from the rest? As with any residential child care company there are the obvious desirable assets, the elusive Level 3 Residential Childcare (or equivalent) Qualification and experience working within a residential childcare setting are always high on any childcare providers list, we do however support employees through the required qualification and training for the role. So looking into the role a little deeper, what makes someone the ‘right person’ for the role as opposed to just a ‘desirable applicant’?

As an independent social care organization with children’s residential homes across the region we are always looking out for new additions who can make a real difference to our teams and as a company who pride themselves on putting the children in our care at the heart of everything we do we like to try and look beyond just the normal attributes for applicants- for someone who can really make a difference to a young person’s life. We spoke to some of our managers and overall it was clear that employees who have a real passion for working with children are high on their lists, the following personality and behavioral traits are what they felt could really make a difference:

Confidence and Resilience

In any care role these attributes are crucial, but when caring for looked after children they can often make the difference between someone who is in it for the long haul. We want people who are not only confident enough to speak to our children and build relationships with them, but also resilient enough to know that our children may test those relationships and have the ability to withstand this and rebuild those relationships after testing times. We want employees who will not give up on our young people and will continue to support and encourage them.

Motivational Skills

Our young people have not always been motivated in the past, therefore we need people with a real ‘get up and go’ attitude. Often the young people we care for are not confident in their actions and plans, whether this is in an educational, social or just in every day life, we need employees who are ready to challenge this and motivate our young people in whatever will help them achieve their desired outcomes and when met with resistance, the best employees, we find, do not give up.

A Team Player

Roles within residential childcare often require long hours, this can be very tiring however extremely rewarding in the long run. One of the best attributes is someone who is a team player, we always adopt a multi-agency working approach, this requires everyone to be ‘on the same hymn sheet’ working with each other for the best interests of the child. We really look for someone who has strong team working skills and will always work with the team, lending support when necessary for the best interests of the child is always a big asset.

Supportive, encouraging and patient

Our young people have not always had the best start in life, therefore it is important that our employees are supportive and patient. Time schedules can be tight, but we want people who always have time for children in our care. Patience is a must, as well as being positive and encouraging, we need employees who really understand where children in our care have come from and understand that whilst they are challenging at times with the right encouragement we can really see them go on to achieve.


Whatever your skills and experience, our young people need to be able to depend on us to help them to progress and achieve. We need people who understand that this is not just a job, that this is a young persons future, they will build relationships with you and learn to depend on you, this is a large part of them being able to trust us. Therefore, we need responsible, dependable people.

A flexible approach

We understand the importance of work life balance and work hard to promote this for our employees, however we do need people who work with a certain degree of flexibility. Young people need someone they can depend on, if they begin to trust and open up to you or you become a key worker being flexible enables you to develop this trust for the benefit of the young people, whether this is attending a crucial meetings with the young person or attending an education or contact with the child. This is not a nine to five role, our shift work can be a benefit to those with busy lives but we require people who can be flexible in their approach to this.

Above everything else we have mentioned we all agree that one of the greatest attributes an employee can have is a good sense of humour, being able to laugh through some challenging times and with our young people is a must. So if the above sounds like you why not head over to our ‘careers’ page and look what vacancies we have or alternatively call us on 01782 777511 to have a chat about what opportunities we have at the moment and get some more information about our roles!