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How to become a domestic assistant

You can become a domestic assistant in the NHS by applying for vacancies on our recruitment website. 

What is a domestic assistant?

Domestic assistants help to provide a clean and pleasant environment for patients, visitors, and staff.

They work throughout hospitals, health centres and other healthcare settings. They use efficient and effective methods for regular routine cleaning that meet quality and hygiene standards.

Starting your career as a domestic assistant

Choosing subjects at school

To become a domestic assistant, you'll need a good standard of education. Useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths 

Speak to your guidance teacher about subjects offered at your school.

Workplacements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.

Education and training pathway

Large-scale cleaning experience and an understanding of cleaning methods and procedures are useful for a career in domestic and housekeeping services.

College courses

If you choose to go to college, you could do the following qualifications to learn some of the skills and knowledge needed for this role:

  • SVQ Hospitality at SCQF level 4
  • SVQ Customer Service at SCQF level 4 qualification

You can apply for vacancies on our recruitment website.

Course search

Search for college courses on My World of Work.

Get to know the role

As a domestic assistant, you’ll join the domestic services team. You will work under the guidance of domestic supervisors to maintain clean and hygienic health centres, office accommodation, and hospitals. You could work in both clinical and non-clinical areas.

Tasks may include: 

  • damp dusting
  • using vacuum cleaners and other floor cleaning equipment
  • curtain changing
  • cleaning toilets and bathroom areas
  • cleaning kitchen areas
  • cleaning of specialist areas, including laboratories, theatres, and the hospital pharmacy

You'll need these skills:

  • communicating
  • collaborating
  • focussing
  • initiative

Domestic assistants work with the following: 

  • domestic supervisor
  • porter
  • healthcare support worker
  • support services manager

You could work in: 

  • hospital wards
  • offices
  • toilets
  • general areas
  • theatres
  • laboratories
  • pharmacy

Learning and development

Learning specific to your role includes completing the Domestic Workbook.

Your NHS employer will confirm their training requirements during your induction.

Career progression

Once in the job, there are opportunities to progress. Support is also available to help you develop your skills and encourage you to take qualifications, including:

  • SVQ Cleaning and Support Services at SCQF level 5
  • SVQ Facilities Services at SCQF level 5
  • British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) qualifications

Gaining new qualifications will help you when applying for more senior roles, such as shift leader or domestic supervisor.

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