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Finding the best agency for you

If you have decided to start a career as a live-in carer, then most likely you have been searching online. No doubt you have come up with hundreds of agencies who all promise you work with the perfect client in perfect conditions and at the perfect pay rate.

While this would be great – and in a perfect world it would be – in the real world, things may not be quite so clear-cut.

You only need to start your search for live-in care agencies to find that there are heaps of them!

Who do you choose, and where do you start?

Before you even approach an agency, it is a good idea to make a few notes about yourself and what you want from your new job.

  • Do you live in the UK, and if so, where would you be prepared to travel to?
  • Do you live abroad, and if so, which airport can you fly into?
  • Do you have family in the UK that you want to be near, and where are they?
  • Do you mind travelling further afield to a placement?

About agencies

Many agencies have only clients which are local, around the area where they are situated. This may be because of the distance they need to travel to assess new clients. You will find many agencies who only have clients in the Greater London area because that is where they are based themselves.

Some agencies are located in Wales and Scotland, with very few clients in other areas. There may not be an airport close enough for you to fly to without several hours of travel.

Most agencies will require you to do initial training and often an annual update when you travel to their offices and stay which doing this. You need to make sure that you can easily get from the airport you arrive at to them and then onto your placement, without undue travelling.

There are several agencies which specialize in conditions like spinal injuries and learning disabilities. If this is not what you have in mind, then make sure you know which ones you do not want to apply to.

There are many agencies who offer placements all over the UK, which will give you a better chance of getting a placement, rather than if they limit themselves to only one area.

However, you should remember that travel in the depths of winter may be difficult and sometimes impossible. You may have a flight booked to go home and find yourself stranded, missing your flight.

What’s the right one for me?

Ideally you should make time to call several agencies, introduce yourself and let them know your criteria. This will then give them a chance to tell you whether they can accommodate you or not.

Be realistic in what you want as it will not look good if you are hired by an agency only to refuse placements because they do not suit you.

The right agency is the one that listens to you and works with you to achieve what you want in a placement. They may ask if you would like to work in a particular placement and respect if when you decline.

Many people do not smoke and cannot work in a smoky environment, or they may prefer to only work with ladies (or men), some people may choose not to work for clients with dementia – and the list can go on.

The right agency will have either a person or a group who make up your support team. They will be there if you need advice or help in any way. The right agency will not leave you ‘out in the cold.’

Final thoughts

It is very important to be honest with yourself before you speak to any agency. If travel is not something you want to do then look for an agency who has clients close to the airport or area you want to be.

Be upfront with the agency, honesty is always the best policy. Remember that while the first couple of agencies may not be what you are looking for, there are many more to choose from.

Don’t be disheartened if you do not find the perfect agency on the first time. Learn from the experience and move on to the next one. It is you who will be doing the work and you should make sure that your priorities, as much as possible – are fulfilled.

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