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Mayfield & Framfield — East Sussex 01435 872 201

What Qualities really make a difference when working in children’s residential childcare?

As a company, PJL Healthcare pride ourselves on putting the children in our care at the heart of everything we do.  To make sure that we can do this, we like to try and look beyond just the normal attributes when considering new applicants who want to join our talented staff team.  So, what really makes an applicant stand out from the rest?

High on the list, there are the obvious desirable qualities, such as qualifications (including the level 3 Residential Childcare Diploma – or equivalent), as well as some experience working within a residential childcare setting.  However, at PJL, we support employees through the required qualifications and training for the role, and a whole host of additional training through our own in-house training centre.   So apart from these, what else makes someone the ‘right fit’ to join our team?

We spoke to some of our current team members about what personality and behavioural traits they look for in a new recruit, and these were the top ones:

Caring nature

Our young people rely on us to nurture them in a loving and caring environment.  Caring is not just a job; care is at the heart of all we do.  From taking time to listen, caring about keeping their home tidy to caring about what is important to them, we are looking to employ people who are genuinely caring in nature, with a kind and loving approach.

Understanding and Encouraging

We employ people who take the time to really understand what really makes a young person tick – what experiences they might have had, what they do and don’t like to do and any difficulties they might face.  This helps them to understand that whilst they might be challenging at times, with the right encouragement, they are able to inspire our young people to reach their full potential.


We’re looking for people who are not only able to build relationships with our children and young people, but also resilient enough to know that those relationships might be tested and they will need to have the ability to withstand this and rebuild those relationships after testing times. We want employees who will not give up on our young people and will continue to support and encourage them.

Motivational Skills

Our young people have not always been motivated in the past, so we need people with a real ‘get up and go’ attitude. Often the young people we care for might not be confident in their feelings and actions, and we need employees who are ready to encourage and motivate them with whatever will help them achieve their desired outcomes, and when met with resistance, the best employees are able to keep motivation levels high.

A Strong Team Player

One of the best attributes we look for, is someone who can work together as part of a team.   Just like a family network, the children and young people we look after have a team of adults working together to make sure that they experience the best care and opportunities, and it is vital that everyone is able to contribute to that team effort.

Supportive and patient

Our young people have not always had the best start in life; therefore, it is important that our employees are supportive and patient. They deserve to have people in their lives who always have time for them and can remain calm and patient even when things are tough.  


Our young people need to be able to depend on us to help them to live well, progress and achieve. We need people who understand that this is not just a job, this is a young person’s life and their future.  They will build relationships with you, build trust, and learn to depend on you. This is a big thing for the young people we look after, therefore we need to employ responsible, dependable people.

A flexible approach

This is not a nine to five role; we need people who can work within a rota each week.  We understand the importance of work life balance and work hard to promote this for our employees.  In fact, many of our team find that our shift patterns; which are set 6 weeks in advance using our online App, can be a benefit to fitting in with busy lives.   However, we do need people who work with a certain degree of flexibility to surround the children and young people we look after with people they can depend on all day/every day. 

A good sense of humour

One of the greatest attributes an employee can have is a good sense of humour, being able to laugh through some challenging times and have fun with our young people is a must!

So, if the above sounds like you, why take a look at our career page:  www.PJL and see what vacancies we have or you could email or alternatively call us on 01435 72201 to have a chat about what opportunities we have at the moment and get some more information about what we do!