#CrisisCareersHeroes: Keeping our public services going

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A graphic representing the fields of work covered in today's article

This week, we are celebrating the amazing #CrisisCareersHeroes who are helping us all get through the coronavirus outbreak. At Success at School, we want to thank all of these amazing people from the bottom of our hearts and help you learn more about the things they do in their jobs.

Today we’re focusing on the workers who are keeping our public services goingCheck out our main page to see more articles.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

Emergency services

Siren

What do they do?

The emergency services respond to emergencies such as dangerous crimes, medical emergencies and fires. These services include the police, fire service and emergency medical service - see our article on workers who look after us to read about paramedics and ambulance teams. Other emergency services include the coastguard, mountain rescue, cave rescue and lifeboat.

How has their role been affected by coronavirus?

Emergencies haven’t stopped just because of coronavirus. We still need fire fighters to tackle fires and the police to deal with crime. However the incidents these services are dealing with has changed to some extent as we’ve adapted our way of life so dramatically. For example, the police have been dealing with people breaching lockdown conditions. Due to staff shortages caused by coronavirus and the need to observe social distancing, the police and fire service are having to withdraw some of their normal duties.

Job stats

Service

Pay

Average working week

Types of shift

Demand

Police

£30,000

37-40 hours

Daytime, evening, nights, weekends

Expected to fall by a small amount over the coming years

Fire

£30,000

41-43 hours

Daytime, evening, nights, weekends

Expected to fall by a small amount over the coming years

How can I become an emergency services worker?

To become a police officer, you could make a direct application, which involves a series of physical fitness checks, before embarking on a training programme. Alternatively, if you have good A-levels, you could do apply for a police constable degree apprenticeship.

To become a firefighter, you could make a direct application and train on the job, or apply for an apprenticeship to ensure you get qualifications as you train.

School staff

School staff graphic

What do they do?

Teachers educate students at primary level or in a particular subject at secondary school. Teaching assistants provide one-to-one support for students with specific needs. Catering staff prepare and serve meals while caretakers look after the school building and grounds.

How has their role been affected by coronavirus?

Teachers, teaching assistants, catering staff and caretakers are all working during the lockdown to provide care and education for vulnerable young people and the children of essential workers. During term time, teachers provide education for students and run activities during holiday time. They do this while ensuring social distancing is observed between staff and students.

Job stats

Job

Pay

Average working week

Types of shift

Demand

Teacher

Main pay range is £24,000-£36,000

37-40 hours

Daytime with marking and preparation in the evening and at weekends

Demand is high due to shortages

Teaching assistant

£14,000

32-40 hours

Daytime

Demand is expected to grow

Catering staff

£15,000 (catering assistant average)

40-42 hours

Mornings, daytime

Expected to remain stable

Caretaker

£18,000

41-43 hours

Morning, daytime, evening, weekends

Expected to drop slightly over the next few years

How can I become a school worker?

Teacher and two students

Teachers continue to support students 

studying from home

To become a teacher, you will need to do a PGCE course at university or complete a university degree followed by an additional course or training programme such as Teach First or School Direct.

Teaching assistants do not require any particular qualifications and you can apply directly for a role in a school, although prior experience working with children and any professional qualifications you have will help.

Catering staff can also apply directly and receive training on the job, but a college course will help you gain valuable qualifications in cookery, food safety and hospitality. You could also apply for an apprenticeship.

Caretakers can also train on the job but you could also apply for an intermediate apprenticeship in property maintenance or facilities services.

Council staff

What do they do?

Council staff who continue working throughout the coronavirus crisis include social workers, housing officers, benefits officers, customer service staff and street-scene and estates teams. Refuse collectors are sometimes employed directly by the council and we cover them in our article on keeping things clean and working.

Social workers support vulnerable families in the community. Housing officers ensure members of the community have access to council and social housing. Benefits officer help claimants with their welfare benefit applications. Customer service teams provide basic information and refer customers on to departments if they can’t resolve the query themselves. Street-scene and estates workers keep our roads and pathways clean and litter-free as well as looking

How has their role been affected by coronavirus?

Council workers graphic

Many council workers are able to handle the majority of enquiries and casework over the phone instead of in the community or at customer service centres. However, social workers still have to make some home visits where vulnerable people and in particular children, need essential support. BASW – the body for social workers – advises that home visits are limited to cases where there is a high risk of harm if a visit isn’t made.

Because street-scene and grounds maintenance workers work outside, it is relatively easy for them to maintain social distancing and avoid contact with the public. However, they sometimes share vehicle cabs with colleagues, putting them at greater risk of infection. Vehicles and equipment has to be cleaned thoroughly in between use.

Job stats

Job

Pay

Average working week

Types of shift

Demand

Social workers

£30,000

37-40 hours

Daytime, evening, weekends

Jobs are expected to grow over the coming years

Housing officers

£26,000

37-39 hours

Daytime, evening

Jobs are expected to grow over the coming years

Benefit officers

£16,000-£36,000 depending on seniority

37-39 hours

Daytime

Jobs expected to decline over the coming years

Customer service staff

£19,000

37-40 hours

Daytime

Jobs expected to remain stable

Street cleaners

£18,000

40-42 hours

Early morning, daytime

Jobs expected to remain stable

Grounds maintenance workers

£18,000

37.5 hours

Daytime

Jobs are expected to grow over the coming years

How can I become a council worker?

Council worker

Council workers keep our public spaces

clean and tidy

You can become asocial worker by doing a degree apprenticeship or university course and postgraduate degree in social work.

The best way to become a housing officer is through a university course in a subject such as housing studies, sociology or social policy. However, you could begin by completing an advanced apprenticeship in housing and property management and then progressing through further study.

You could apply for a job as a benefits officer through direct application or an apprenticeship. For a more senior role, a university degree will be helpful.

Customer service officers do not require any particular qualification and can gain experience and training within the role. Apply through a direct application or via the apprenticeship route.

You don’t need any particular qualifications to become a street cleaner so you can apply directly for this job.

You can make a direct application to become a grounds maintenance worker and gain training on the job, then progress through the ranks. You could also start your career with an apprenticeship and gain qualifications.

Homeless support workers

Homeless worker graphic

What do they do?

Homeless support workers work in homeless shelters and hostels, supporting guests in their everyday lives and helping them transition to permanent housing. They connect guests with specialists working in areas such as mental health, physical health, addictions, trauma and relationship breakdown and also help them complete applications and claims. Homeless support workers are also responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre, including allocating rooms to guests, carrying out admin and management duties and running activities.

How has their role been affected by coronavirus?

Homeless shelters reduced beds to ensure that everyone has a separate room to limit the chances of coronavirus being spread throughout the centre. This has a knock-on effect by creating delays in admitting those on the waiting list. Homeless support workers now factor in the likelihood of virus transmission when assessing applicants. They also face extra challenges in explaining social distancing and safety guidelines and ensuring that guests comply.

Deb says this:

Challenges include "having to reduce the number of beds from 26 to 20 so everyone can have their own room. We then have to tell people who are waiting to come in that there will be an even longer wait."

Click here to read the full interview.

Job stats

  • Pay: £19,000.
  • Average working week: 41-43 hours.
  • Types of shift: Daytime, early mornings, evenings, nights.
  • Demand: Jobs are expected to grow in the coming years.

How can I become a homeless support worker?

Experience and qualifications in fields such as protection of vulnerable adults (POVA), manual handling, medication awareness and basic first aid will all help you gain a role as a homeless support worker. A college course is a good way to gain qualifications in these areas. If you don’t have experience or qualifications, you can still apply and may be able to gain qualifications in your role.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

Check out our main #CrisisCareersHeroes page to learn about other workers who are helping us get through the coronavirus crisis.

Images: Graphics by Freepik, gstudioimagen, stories via Freepik, teacher via DFID, council worker via Geograph

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