CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAY. 28, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to become a Caretaker

If you enjoy doing maintenance based activities and repair work, and provided you have the character traits to work as a supervisor, you may consider becoming a caretaker. A caretaker is a person who is employed to look after different buildings such as schools, offices, housing establishments, etc. to maintain, repair and manage the upkeep of the building.

Job Responsibilities

As a caretaker, the tasks you are expected to perform may include:

  • Carrying out daily maintenance tasks and minor repairs
  • Supervision of cleaning staff
  • Record keeping activities
  • Restocking of supplies
  • Ordering new furniture and equipment
  • Make bookings for the rooms available in the building
  • Opening and closing of the building
  • Safeguarding the building and to ensure the building is properly locked when not in use
  • To ensure all the systems are working properly in the building

 You may be employed as a mobile caretaker so as to look after multiple sites.

Working Hours and Environment

As a caretaker you usually work around 37 hours a week. You generally work shifts and might have to work early mornings and evenings. The job may be physically demanding and you may have to work at heights as well for cleaning purposes.

Remuneration Scheme

 Starting level

£12,000 to £16,000 per year 

 Experienced

 Up to £20,000 or more

Source: nationalcareersservice.sirect.gov.uk

You may be provided accommodation on-site as well.

Education

To become a caretaker, you don’t need a special education but some employers might seek GCSEs in English and Mathematics. A basic electrical or plumbing qualification might be useful for you. Experience in jobs related to repair and maintenance might be useful for you.

If you plan on getting a job in a  schools, you will need Disclosure and Barring Service clearance.

Training

Once employed, you usually receive on-the-job training under experienced senior’s guidance. You may work towards various industry qualifications such as:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Property, Caretaking and Facilities Services
  • Level 2 Certificate in Cleaning and Support Service Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Facilities Services
  • Level 2 Certificate in Skills for Supporting Public Services

After gaining significant experience, you may further train yourself to work towards:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Property Caretaking and Facilities Supervision
  • Level 3 Certificate in Principles of Facilities Management

If you are employed with a housing association or local authority, you may consider working for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Level 3 Certificate in Housing Practice, which includes a pathway for Caretaking and Concierge Services. You may refer to the following link:

CIH - qualifications

Skills and Interests Needed

To become a caretaker, you need to demonstrate the following:

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Practical DIY skills
  • Good problem solving skills
  • Flexible approach
  • Basic Computer Knowledge
  • Monitoring skills
  • Health and safety awareness
  • Likeliness for hygiene
  • Physical fitness
  • Be able to manage workload

Career Prospects

As a caretaker, you may find easy employment with:

  • Local authorities
  • Churches
  • Housing associations
  • Large companies

If employed in large buildings such as schools and office blocks, you generally work in a team with other caretakers. At such places you may get an opportunity to move to facilities management and overtake the roles of a supervisor or work in cleaning management.

To conclude, the job can be really strenuous and may not suit you if you don't have a lot of physical endurance. It involves multitasking and you need to have a strong mind to fit well into the job.

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