FAQ – Careers with Way Ahead Care

Who are Way Ahead Care and what do they do?

Way Ahead Care is a family run business established in 1994 who deliver homecare and Live-In care to adults of all ages and disabilities. We run our own training company, Step Ahead, who deliver all our induction training in addition to nationally recognised care qualifications, both internally and to other care providers.

What can I expect from Way Ahead Care as an Employer?

At Way Ahead Care we recognise that people are our greatest asset. You will receive a thorough and informative induction developing your knowledge and skills through courses, practical exercises and on the job training; only once you have been assessed as competent will you be able to deliver care and support unsupervised.

During the first three months of your employment you will meet with our trainers or your line manager at 4, 8 and 12 weeks to discuss your progress throughout the induction process.

Once you have successfully completed your probationary period you will continue to meet with your line manager through our Supervision and Appraisal process; you will also attend team meetings and receive other communications from the Company in the form of weekly Care Notes, Newsletters and ad hoc letters.

Developing people is at the forefront of our minds and development opportunities will present themselves throughout your employment in addition to opportunities for career progression.

What type of tasks will I carry out?

Each Service User will have a Care Plan within their own home; this will contain details of their current care package explaining which tasks need to be completed at each visit.

We can provide lighter domestic duties, or preventative services. These are to ensure that the Service User does not ‘overdo it’ but still retains their independence. This can include cooking and cleaning, shopping trips, companionship and other domestic duties around the house; like watering plants or assisting with pets.

We also provide personal care services for those that are more dependent. This can include helping Service Users get up in the morning or go to bed at night, getting washed and dressed, maybe a bath or shower, meal preparation, assist with or administer prescribed medication and toileting.

As part of your role you will care for Service Users who experience from continence issues; you may be required to empty catheter bags, stoma bags or commodes and you may also be required to clean up following an accident. Full training is provided to give you the skills, knowledge and confidence to approach these tasks.

What types of people will I be looking after?

All our Service Users are adults with a care & support need, the majority of which are the elderly, frail and who may be experiencing or living with dementia.

What will be my working hours?

  • Positions within the Community (Home Care & Support): In essence your working days/hours can be negotiable, however we need to recruit to the busier times of the days so there may be some restrictions as to the hours of work we will be able to offer. We will agree a two week ‘Availability’ (Week 1 and Week 2), this will include working the alternate weekends. Once your ‘Availability’ has been agreed this will form your regular working pattern.
  • Positions within Extra Care Housing: In essence your working days/hours can be negotiable, however we need to recruit to the busier times of the days so there may be some restrictions as to the hours of work we will be able to offer. We will agree a two week ‘Availability’ (Week 1 and Week 2), this will include working the alternate weekends. Once your ‘Availability’ has been agreed this will form your regular working pattern.
  • Positions within Live-in Care: Live-in Care provides a 24hr service where the member of staff ‘lives’ with the client. Staff are paid on a ‘Daily Average’ depending on the level of service required by the client. The more complex the client’s needs the higher the daily average is. We require staff to work a minimum of 2 weeks in placement and facilitate up to 6 weeks in placement.

Do I need to work weekends?

The services that we provide are delivered across 7 days of the week therefore all staff are required to work alternate weekends.

What are the ranges of hours that I may select from?

Way Ahead Care provides services 24hrs a day. For those looking to work throughout the day we deliver services from 07:00 to 22:00, however the busiest times are from 07:00 to 12:00/14:00 and then again from 16:00 to 22:00, every day of the week, within both community and Extra Care Housing services. For those working with Live-in Care your hours are based on a daily average and it will be necessary to meet the needs of the clients as and when required.

How am I paid?

We offer a number of different contracts throughout the services that we provide.

  • Positions within the Community: The vast majority of positions that we offer within the community will be on a ‘Variable Contract’. You will be paid for all ‘contact time’ you spend with service users within their own home, the time you take travelling and the mileage you accumulate providing the service. Travel time is based on the number of miles you accumulate. A Variable Hour contract means that your hours, through events that are not within our control, may vary. This may result in small ‘gaps’ within your working hours/day where there you will not be required to work. However, these gaps are regularly filled on the day due to staff absence, holiday cover or emergency relief. We would be happy to discuss this further with you if would like further clarification.
    Variable Hour Contract InfoPic - HC
    See our InfoPic for more information

    We do offer salary based contracts, however these tend to be for more specialist roles, or set working times, rather than an ‘Availability’.

  • Positions within Extra Care Housing: The vast majority of positions that we offer within the community will be on a ‘Variable Contract’. You will be paid for all ‘contact time’ you spend with service users within their own home. A Variable Hour contract means that your hours, through events that are not within our control, may vary. This may result in small ‘gaps’ within your working hours/day where there you will not be required to work. However, these gaps are regularly filled on the day due to staff absence, holiday cover or emergency relief. We would be happy to discuss this further with you if would like further clarification.
    Variable Hour Contract InfoPic - ECH
    See our InfoPic for more information

    We do offer salary based contracts, however these tend to be for more specialist roles, or set working times, rather than an ‘Availability’.

  • Positions within Live-in Care: Although you are required to provide a 24hr presence within the client’s home you are paid on a ‘Daily Average’ depending on the level of service required by the client. The more complex the client’s needs the higher the daily average is.

Are there Full Time and Part Time positions available?

There are both Full and Part Time positions available.

Do I need to have transport?

  • Positions within the community: Yes, because of the areas we cover it is not possible to achieve a rota on foot or by using public transport hence motorised transport is essential for all staff.
  • Positions within Extra Care Housing: No, it is not essential to have your own transport but you will be responsible for making your way to the scheme you are to be working in.
  • Positions within Live-in Care: No, it is not essential to have your own transport but you will be responsible for making your way to your placement. Some clients insist on having a carer that can drive (either their own car or one that is provided by the client).

Where will I be required to work?

  • Somerset: Way Ahead Care provides community based home care throughout Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor. We provide staffing within a number of Extra Care Housing Schemes in Taunton, Wellington, Bridgwater and Burnham.
  • Bath: Way Ahead Care provides community based home care throughout Bath & North East Somerset.
  • Live-in Care: Way Ahead Care provides Live-in Care throughout much of the South-West. (Devon, Somerset, North Somerset, Bath, Gloucester and South Gloucester).

What are our expectations from our staff?

Reliability: The Service Users whom we deliver services are adults with care & support needs – they will always require their visits. This means that reliability is essential; we are unable to sustain high levels of absenteeism.

I have never worked in the Care Sector previously, can I still apply?

Yes, previous experience is not essential for this role as full training will be provided.

What training will I receive?

During your induction you will attend a range of training courses to ensure that you complete the Care Certificate. Completion of this certificate is mandatory and a requirement of our regulatory body, The Care Quality Commission (CQC). In addition to the mandatory training courses, there may be some additional specialist training courses that you will be required to attend.

It is important to note that some of these courses may take place outside of your ‘normal working hours’ but you will receive your normal rates of pay to attend. We ask that you make any necessary arrangements to ensure your attendance.

What qualifications do I need to hold to be considered for employment as a Care & Support Assistant?

You are not required to hold any specific formal qualifications to be successful however it is essential that the job holder can read, write and interpret the English language to understand our Company policies and procedures and follow instruction and complete paperwork. You should however be able to demonstrate a caring and sensitive approach, an interest in the values of the Company and have the desire to make a difference.

Once employed with Way Ahead Care you will undertake the nationally recognised ‘Care Certificate’. This is mandatory and a requirement for all care providers to deliver to their staff.

High Standards of Care: We ask that you treat all Service Users with care, respect and dignity as if they were your parent or grandparent or as you would like to be treated.

Commitment: To training and your own development. You will attend many courses as part of your induction and many of these require updates thereafter. Whether this is annually, bi-annually or at other frequencies your attendance is mandatory for your own health and safety and also that of the Service Users. This is a condition of your employment.

Can I achieve any further qualifications?

Yes, once you have successfully passed your 3 month probationary period and settled into the role we would like you to start nationally recognised qualification units that can eventually add up to a full diploma (these have replaced the historical NVQ qualifications). We will arrange a meeting with our Training Manager who will discuss these options with you and answer any questions that you may have.

Can I progress my career with Way Ahead Care?

Yes, at Way Ahead Care vacancies are advertised internally via our Care Notes which are a weekly method of communication. For management positions or those requiring additional specialist qualifications, experience or membership these will also be advertised externally, internal applications are also welcome.

What is the DBS?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is able to provide us with a check into your background regarding any criminal activity, whether this be convictions, cautions or reprimands. The client group we visit are classed as ‘Adults at Risk’ and as such an enhanced disclosure is requested; this will show all criminal activity whether spent or unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

If I have a previous criminal record, will this bar me from employment with you?

Not necessarily. Any previous cautions or convictions should be disclosed on your application.

Will my Car Insurance need to be amended?

Most car insurance policies cover you for Social, Domestic and Pleasure which includes commuting to a permanent place of work. As you will be travelling to many people within their own homes you will not have a permanent place of work and therefore you will need to add a clause of ‘For use in connection with business’ to your Car Insurance Policy; we will need to take a copy of your revised Certificate of Insurance at your induction to satisfy ourselves that you are adequately insured to carry out business on our behalf.

If I am using my own car will I be reimbursed for my petrol?

Yes, you will. When working in the community and once you have completed your induction, you do not need to keep a record of your mileage. We use our staff rostering software to calculate your mileage using the postcodes for the Service Users’ homes.

Will I be required to wear a uniform?

Our community Care and Support Assistants are the ‘shop window’ for the Company, as such all staff are required to ensure they maintain high standards of appearance and personal hygiene. We will provide you with tunics and we ask you to wear black trousers (not leggings or jeans) and enclosed black flat shoes for the reasons of health and safety.

Will I receive any other equipment?

In addition to the uniform you will also receive the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) necessary to ensure infection control – this includes gloves, aprons and sanitising hand gel. During your induction you will also receive a Photographic Identification Badge.