Becoming an HCA or Support Worker in Ireland: How to Succeed

24 January 2024

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So, you’re following your passion and keen to launch your career as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) orSupport Worker. But what qualifications do you need, and what boxes do you need to tick to get off to a great start?

Alan Considine is a TTM Talent Acquisition Specialist, and part of his role involves initial screening of candidates who want to apply for Health Care Assistant and Support Worker jobs. Key to this is ensuring candidates meet all mandatory requirements. He shared some basic criteria you need to meet at this stage of your journey…

First – Be Clear on the Role

It sounds obvious, but make sure you fully understand the role you’re looking for: the difference between a Healthcare Assistant and a Support Worker. Both are incredibly rewarding and well-respected jobs.

As a Healthcare Assistant you provide support, assistance and personal care to patients and residents in diverse settings including HSE hospitals and clinics. Here you would work alongside healthcare professionals such as Doctors, Consultants and Midwives. Your responsibilities would include preparing patients for an operation or procedure and helping with their personal care and mobility. You could also choose to work in a private nursing home or voluntary organisation.

As a Support Worker your role is to help support vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with physical disabilities or mental health needs – assisting them in their daily lives. You might work as part of an intellectual disability service, supported living service or a residential service for those who need full-time care. Support Workers also work in Outreach and Day Services.

Secondly, do you have the right qualifications?

Before your initial screening with TTM, be sure you qualify for the role you’re going for. As a Healthcare Assistant you need a minimum of a QQI/FETAC Level 5 Major Award in Healthcare Support or Pre-nursing Studies – with 8 modules completed and your final results available (we cannot use provisional results). You will also need:

• The legal right to work in Ireland.

• A minimum of 3 months’ recent experience in a caring/support role.

• A full vaccination record including Hep B (3 shots & titre), MMR, TB and Varicella.

• To be fluent in written and spoken English.

If you are applying for a Support Worker role, you will need a minimum of Level 5 or 6 in Healthcare or Childcare or Level 7 or 8 in Social Care. You’ll need to be eligible to work in Ireland and have some experience in a relevant background.

Thirdly, you need Garda Vetting

To succeed in your initial screening for Healthcare Assistant and Support Worker jobs, you will need Garda Vetting. This is a legal requirement for anyone working with children and vulnerable adults.

To apply for Garda Vetting with TTM you need to complete an Application Form, provided by TTM, for submission to the National Vetting Bureau. All applicants must disclose any conviction against them – including driving offences, non-payment of a TV licence and public order offences.

Be sure to complete the Application Form fully and accurately, giving the job title for which you are applying and a hand-written signature to give us permission to apply for Garda Vetting. You’ll find more details in our blog here.

Lastly, do you need International Police Clearance?

If, since the age of 16, you have lived in a country other than Ireland for 6 months or more, you will need to request a Police Clearance Document from that country. This verifies your legal standing in a foreign country – stating that there are no convictions against you. As with Garda Vetting, this clearance is required for all healthcare professionals, and you will need to provide security clearance for each jurisdiction in which you have lived.

International Police Clearance Documents are issued by a country’s police or law enforcement agency, and as a candidate you are responsible for obtaining the necessary documentation. You can also contact the relevant embassies for information.

Please note that:

• The Document/s must be dated reflecting your most recent residency in another country.

• You’ll need to provide a certified translation in English.

• Together with the application form, you will likely have to provide a photo of your passport, proof of ID, proof of address and your phone number.

If you’re interested in working as a Healthcare Assistant or Support Worker with TTM, get in touch here: