Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

08th October 2019

Can I employ a 16 year old to work in my care setting who wants to gain experience in the Care Sector?

Hi Sheila,

I employ 12 people who work always on a 2:1 ratio with my disabled son. I have been approached by a staff member who has a 16 year old daughter who wants to gain experience in care work. As she would always be supervised and after training would she be able to assist with bathing and pad changes? This all happens within my adapted home, not a care home setting.


Dear Nigel,


Thank you for your question.


As you know you do not have to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) because as is set out in the CQC document, Scope of Registration, Page 14:


Individual budgets, individual user trusts and self funded personal care or nursing care


Where a person, or a related third party on their behalf, makes their own arrangement for nursing care or personal care, and the nurse or carer works directly for them and under their control without an agency or employer involved in managing or directing the care provided, the nurse or carer does not need to register for that regulated activity.


A related third party means:

a) An individual with parental responsibility for a child to whom personal care services are to be provided.

b) An individual with power of attorney or other lawful authority to make arrangements on behalf of the person to whom personal care services are to be provided.

c) A group or individuals mentioned in a) and b) making arrangements on behalf of one or more persons to whom personal care services are to be provided.


We therefore have to consider best practice in your case.


If I were advising the Manager of a care home I would advise that they should carry out and record a risk assessment of whether or not there would be any risks to your son if you employed a 16 year old to be part of your son's care team.


From your letter it seems to me that any possible risk is clearly mitigated as she would always be supervised, she would be trained and she would never work alone.


There is no reason why a person should not be considered just because of their age except that the law states the following regarding young people between the ages of 16 and 18 in England:

You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.

You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training


I hope this is helpful.


Best wishes.




*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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