Accommodation wardens (or residential wardens) manage the day-to-day running of services such as sheltered housing, rehabilitation centres, youth hostels and student residences. This job often involves looking after both the building and its residents.
As an accommodation warden your duties could include:
- overseeing catering, cleaning and maintenance staff
- responding to emergencies and contacting doctors, social workers or community nurses when needed
- looking after the welfare of residents, checking on them each morning to make sure they are well
- making sure there is effective security provision
- arranging for repairs to be carried out.
Your work would vary according to the type of accommodation and the needs of the people living there.
In sheltered or supported housing or specially adapted accommodation, residents may include homeless people, older people or those with some level of physical disability. In these settings your work would include arranging activities to interest and stimulate the residents, such as bingo, lunch clubs and guest speakers.
In a youth hostel setting, you would provide information on walks and tourist attractions.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
Some employers may prefer you to have GCSEs, although your personal qualities and ‘people skills’ are usually considered more important.
You could be at an advantage if you have experience (paid or voluntary) of working with vulnerable groups, and a qualifications such as NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Health and Social Care. Experience in a care setting may be essential if, for example, you wish to work as a warden with elderly people.
A good way to prepare for working with the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) could be as a voluntary warden. Check the YHA website for opportunities.
- Youth Hostel Association
To work with some groups, such as children, you will need Criminal Records Bureau clearance.
- Criminal Records Bureau
What further training and development can I do?
You will usually receive on-the-job training from your employer, which may be combined with working towards qualifications relevant to the type of accommodation you support.
As a warden within sheltered or supported housing you would regularly attend short courses in subjects such as health and safety, hygiene, moving and handling, and first aid. You may also take qualifications such as:
- NVQ levels 3 and 4 in Health and Social Care
- NVQ Level 4 in Leadership and Management for Care Services
- NVQ Level 3 in Property and Caretaking Supervision
- foundation degree in Housing with Support, like the one run by the CHS (Centre for Housing and Support).
With the Youth Hostel Association (YHA), you would usually begin as an assistant and work towards NVQ levels 2 or 3 in Customer Service. You may be able to progress to senior assistant and with experience, you could apply for hostel manager posts and work towards NVQ Level 4 in Management.
Whichever type of accommodation you run, you could take qualifications offered by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). These range from a Level 2 Certificate in Housing to a Level 4 Diploma in Housing, with options in supported housing and student accommodation. NVQ levels 2, 3 and 4 in Housing would also give you recognition for your skills.