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- Provide a home-visiting service for pre-school children with special needs or disabilities
- Rewarding work, requiring good communication and people skills
- You could progress to be a senior portage worker with supervisory or management responsibilities
As a portage home visitor, you'll be helping young children who have various types of difficulties at home.
- Observing children and talking to parents to identify their child's skills
- Assessing which skills are most important for the child's future learning
- Suggesting a programme of activities for parents and their child to practise together
- Breaking down tasks into small steps
- Showing parents how to record their child's progress
- Encouraging parents and carers to meet each other and offer support
- Helping parents to apply for disability benefits
- Checking progress and agreeing on new goals
- Writing progress reports
You'll also work closely with other professionals, like health visitors, social workers, physiotherapists and speech therapists. You may sometimes need to work in the evenings and at weekends to visit parents who work during the day. You'll be based in an office, but spend a lot of your time visiting families in their own homes.
For this role, you'll need the ability to work well with others, knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, flexibility and openness to change, persistence and determination, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, and knowledge of English language and psychology.
You could do a foundation degree or degree in early childhood studies.
You can learn some of the skills needed for this job through a college course like the Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care.
You can also get into this job through an early years educator advanced apprenticeship.
Some local authorities may offer opportunities to be a volunteer Portage worker, without asking for qualifications.
Direct application might be possible if you've got experience of working with children aged 0 to 14 years, and knowledge of early childhood development and special needs. You may also need a relevant professional qualification in teaching, social work or nursing; a level 2 or 3 early years qualification; or a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in early childhood studies.
You can attend a short Portage basic workshop led by a National Portage Association accredited trainer. This would give you more information about the role before applying for work.
Before you start work, you'll also need enhanced clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
With experience you could become a senior Portage worker with supervisory or management responsibilities. You could also study to be an accredited Portage trainer.