Residential Warden

The Job and What's Involved

Residential wardens look after the accommodation of people who, although they live independent lives, sometimes need support. Most wardens work in sheltered housing schemes for older people, where they are often known as scheme manager.

Others may work with disabled people or students living away from home for the first time. Some wardens work in hostels or supported housing for homeless people, ex-offenders or drug users, where they may be known as project workers or support workers.

There are also residential wardens in tourist accommodation such as youth hostels.

Residential wardens look after many different types of accommodation, and their duties vary considerably. They can include:

  • Helping residents to settle into the accommodation and showing them how to use alarm systems, heating systems and other appliances.
  • Agreeing and drawing up a support plan for each resident.
  • Making a point of seeing each resident regularly.
  • Checking that carers, who help residents with tasks like washing and dressing, are available at agreed times.
  • Making sure that residents understand and follow any rules and health and safety requirements relating to their accommodation.
  • Ensuring that residents treat each other and the staff with respect and consideration.
  • Making sure that residents who are ill or have an accident receive appropriate medical treatment.
  • Calling the emergency services if there is a fire or other emergency, and making sure that all the residents are safe.
  • Being responsible for security in the accommodation and checking the credentials of all visitors.
  • Supervising personnel involved in cleaning and maintenance.
  • Organising outings and social events, such as lunch clubs.
  • Liaising with social services, other organisations and families to make sure that all residents have the support they need.
  • Making contact with residents who may otherwise live isolated lives.
  • Providing local information for students or tourists.
  • Helping people with benefit claims and other official paperwork.
  • Keeping records.

Some jobs include being on call for out-of-hours emergencies. This is becoming less common for scheme managers in sheltered housing, but is likely to be part of the job for wardens of student accommodation or youth hostels.

Although hours are likely to be around 37 a week, they may include evening and weekend work. In addition, wardens may have on-call duties that involve responding to residents' alarm calls at any hour of the day or night. Part-time work is often available.

Wardens are usually based in an office within the residential accommodation, but they are likely to visit different areas of the building and the grounds throughout the working day.

They may be provided with on-site accommodation, particularly in rural areas.

Starting salaries may be from around £11,000 to £13,000 a year. With more experience, wardens may earn up to around £22,000 a year.

A supported housing team leader may earn from £27,000 to £33,000 a year, or more.

There may be a package of benefits, including free or subsidised accommodation on site, although increasing numbers of wardens now live off site. Wardens may receive additional payments for on-call duties.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are opportunities for residential wardens throughout the UK. Employers include local authorities, housing associations, private companies, charitable and voluntary organisations and universities and colleges.

There are also opportunities in hostels housing a particular group of workers, such as nurses' accommodation and in youth hostels. The majority of jobs are located in towns and cities. However, youth hostels are often in rural areas.

Vacancies are advertised in local newspapers, at Jobcentre Plus offices, with recruitment agencies specialising in housing, on the LG Talent website and in specialist publications such as Community Care and Inside Housing.

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) in England and Wales recruits general assistants to work in its hostels during the summer season.

Education and Training

There are no formal entry requirements, although applicants should be able to demonstrate basic skills in literacy and numeracy and good communication skills.

Previous experience of working in a caring environment, e.g. as a care assistant, may be required. Candidates with qualifications in health and social care or a current first aid certificate may be at an advantage.

There is an Apprenticeship in housing that may be a route into work as a residential warden.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work, Careers Wales; and for Northern Ireland contact

The Diploma in society, health and development may be relevant.

To work with vulnerable adults or children, applicants need to undergo checks through theCriminal Records Bureau (CRB).

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Wardens usually receive on the job training from their employers. This may be supplemented by short courses. Many employers expect wardens to gain qualifications in health and hygiene, moving and handling and first aid. Individuals should make sure these are kept up to date throughout their careers.

There is a range of professional qualifications, including Certificate in Housing at Levels 2 or 3, that can be studied with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) or the Centre for Housing and Support (CHS). At Level 3, they offer a supported housing pathway.

The University of Plymouth offers a foundation degree in housing with support, which also incorporates the CIH Level 4 diploma, usually studied part-time over three years.

CHS also offers a programme of short courses on subjects, including financial inclusion and older people, dealing with alcohol and drug misuse, effective resident involvement, and loss and bereavement.

With suitable qualifications and experience, wardens can apply for membership of the CIH.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A residential warden should:

  • Be an excellent communicator, with a friendly manner.
  • Be patient and able to gain people's trust.
  • Be sensitive to residents' needs.
  • Be able to relate to people from a range of different backgrounds.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Be security and safety conscious.
  • Be able to cope with difficult situations, e.g. discovering that a resident has died and making arrangements to inform his or her family.
  • Be able to respond quickly and calmly in an emergency.
  • Have strong organisational skills.
  • Have basic maintenance and cleaning skills.
  • Be trustworthy, honest and discreet.
  • Be able to deal with computers, paperwork and figures.

Your Long Term Prospects

An assistant warden may be promoted to warden. Promotion prospects may be limited and it may be necessary to change employer and location to gain more pay and responsibility.

With further experience and qualifications, wardens may be able to progress into housing management positions or other jobs in the housing sector. They may also choose to pursue a career in a related area such as social work.

Get Further Information

Centre for Housing and Support (CHS),
1st Floor, Elgar House, Shrub Hill Road,
Worcester WR4 9EE
Tel: 01905 727272

Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH),
Octavia House, Westwood Way,
Coventry CV4 8JP
Tel: 02476 851700

LG Talent

Youth Hostels Association
(England and Wales) Limited (YHA),
Trevelyan House, Dimple Road,
Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3YH
Tel: 01629 592600

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