So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Support people who have difficulties with communication
- You'll need a caring and understanding approach and excellent communication skills
- You could become a team leader and supervise other speech and language therapy assistants
As a speech & language therapy assistant you'll work with children and adults who may have difficulties making themselves understood through speech problems, understanding and using language, a stammer or difficulties with feeding, chewing or swallowing. These challenges may be as a result of injury, stroke, cancer, Parkinson's disease, mental health problems or a learning difficulty.
- Working with the therapist
- Working with clients on a one-to-one basis, group work and activities
- Providing advice on cultural and language differences (if you're a bilingual co-worker), clients with any personal needs, for example, mobility issues and preparing therapy rooms and equipment
You could be based in a hospital, health centre, assessment unit, a mainstream or special school, or a patient's own home. Your day-to-day work may include some travel and your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
This role would be ideal for someone with a caring and understanding approach, excellent communication skills, and the ability to explain treatments to patients, empathy and the ability to gain the trust and confidence of clients, the ability to work in a team and also on your own, and organisational skills.
You can apply directly for jobs if you've got some of the relevant skills and experience needed for this role. There aren't any set requirements but you'll usually need good literacy and numeracy skills and some employers may ask for GCSEs or equivalent.
You may also need a qualification in healthcare or health and social care.
You could do a college course to get into this job such as a Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care, Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care or Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care. Most health and social care courses include work placements so this could be a good way of getting experience.
You could also contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for more information on work or volunteering in a health or social care role. Do-it also has more information on voluntary opportunities in your area.
Alternatively, you could start as a healthcare assistant and move into speech and language therapy work, through further training and promotion. Or you can do an advanced apprenticeship as a senior healthcare support worker.
You will need to pass enhanced background checks for this role and for bilingual co-worker jobs it will be essential to have the ability to speak a second community-based language.
It may be helpful to join the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, for professional development and training opportunities.
With experience, you could become a team leader and supervise other speech and language therapy assistants. You could also train as an assistant practitioner and study for a foundation degree before training as a speech and language therapist.