Driver/Care Assistant

The primary role of a driver/care assistant is to transport elderly people, those with disabilities and people with long-term illnesses between their homes and day care centres or activity settings. As well as transporting passengers, a driver/care assistant must ensure passengers' safety and comfort during the journey.

Work Environment
Driver/care assistants spend a great deal of time outdoors and in a vehicle (usually a small bus adapted for the needs of disabled or elderly passengers). Although driver/care assistants may be asked to work alone, they are part of a team and may be asked to assist other drivers if someone has broken down, for example. They may also be accompanied by an escort who can help care for passengers.

Hours can vary according to demand. A typical day could be from 8.30am to 11.00am taking people to centres or activities and then from 3.00pm to 5.00pm to take them back home. Some authorities do employ full-time drivers. Weekend or evening work might be necessary.  A uniform may be provided including reflective and protective clothing such as tabards and gloves. Mobile phones and first aid kits may also supplied.

Daily Activities
A typical day starts with a vehicle maintenance check (oil, water, tyre pressures and fuel). The driver/care assistant is given a list of names and addresses and plots the most convenient route to pick those people up. Depending on the number of clients, the level of care they need and the size of the vehicle, it can take several hours and/or more than one trip to collect everyone and transport them safely. It is likely that a driver/care assistant may have a different route every day depending on whether they are taking clients to a day centre, or to a particular activity.

Although in theory clients should be ready to leave, in practice driver/care assistants may need to help some clients get ready to leave their homes, making sure that they have their coats on, that the house is locked and that the keys are safely in a bag or pocket. It can also take some time to secure wheelchairs and to make sure that passengers are wearing seatbelts.

After arriving at the destination, the driver/care assistant helps everyone to get out safely. This can involve raising and lowering a passenger lift or ramp to allow the wheelchair users to disembark and helping others down the steps of the vehicle and safely.  Later in the day the driver/care assistant transports everyone home again.  Driver/care assistants must also keep their vehicle clean and tidy.

Skills & Interests
Driver/care assistants need:

  • to be careful, safe drivers;
  • a caring attitude towards their passengers;
  • a willingness to talk to people and be interested in making them feel comfortable;
  • common sense;
  • to be physically fit;
  • patience.

Entry Requirements
You must have a full driving licence and will normally be required to have been driving for at least a year. Depending on the kind of vehicle you will be required to drive, you may be asked for a particular type of driving licence or be asked to take an additional driving test. 

Previous experience of working with people in a social care/support setting can be very useful and in some cases may be essential - some councils ask for an NVQ level 2 in Care.  Training is given in how to drive the vehicles. Training may also be given on other issues such as first aid, fire safety and transferring and handling clients. There may be an opportunity to undertake NVQ/SVQs in Care whilst in employment.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
With plenty of years experience and good organisational and people management skills, it might be possible to become head driver or transport manager in charge of a fleet of vehicles and drivers. It may also be possible to move into more specific social care roles.

Further Information & Services
Care Council for Wales
Community Care
Community Service Volunteers
Department of Health
Health & Care Professions Council
Homes & Communities Agency
Skills for Care
Social Care Association

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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