Speech and Language Therapy Support Worker

Speech and Language Therapy Support Workers work with Speech and Language Therapists to help clients overcome speech, language and swallowing problems. They work directly with a range of client groups, such as:

  • children
  • people with physical disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health problems
  • people recovering from illness or a medical condition such as a stroke or brain injury

In NHSScotland, Speech and Language Therapy Support Worker work in hospitals, nurseries, schools and community clinics. Sometimes they visit patients at home.


I'm Vicki, I'm a Speech and Language Therapy Support Worker at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

A lot of people assume that speech therapy is all about somebody speaking, but there's so much more to it. Quite often, people can't speak after they've had a stroke, so we have to then think of what else can we do for this person, to get their voice over.

My role is trying to encourage the person not to just say "ok... forget it", because their voice still needs to be heard and they should still have a voice, regardless if it doesn't come out their mouth, they still deserve to be able to say "I need to go to the toilet".

Being involved with the families is a key point. They know that person better than anybody else. So, it's really good if you can get to meet the families and get to know them and they know your face. It's crucial, I think.

There's lots of different ways [we can help people to communicate]. We call it a total communication. That can be just chatting to the person, it could be making a picture list or a word list for that person, or it could be iPad work. A word could just be simple things, like feelings, basic needs like toilet, food, drink. If somebody is going to a unit that nobody knows them, it's important to know they don't like coffee and prefer tea.

You've got to be able to want to work with people. You've got to be able to listen to people. You've got to be quite patient as well, because you've got to give somebody the opportunity to finish what they've said before you jump in with something else. You've got to love to chat to people and I think you've got to be able to have that confidence to go up and start a conversation with somebody that you've never met before.

It's amazing to see from where that person was to the person that is going home. It's amazing it's the best feeling ever to think I played a very small part in that person being able to say goodbye to people.

The Role(s)

As a Speech and Language Therapy Support Worker, you would assist Speech and Language Therapists, teachers, doctors, nurses, psychologists and other healthcare professionals.

Once the Speech and language Therapist assesses the client and makes their diagnosis, you would work with them to plan a series of therapy exercises as part of the patient’s treatment plan.           

Your main duties would include:

  • working with the Speech and Language Therapist to plan a patient's therapy
  • working with patients on a one-to-one basis or in groups
  • preparing therapy rooms, materials and equipment
  • supporting patients to develop communication skills
  • updating patient records and booking appointments

Skills, Interests and Abilities

Useful skills include:

  • patience and empathy
  • a caring and friendly personality
  • strong communication skills
  • teamworking skills
  • good level of physical fitness
  • IT skills 

 Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to relate to people of all ages, lifestyles and backgrounds
  • the ability to motivate people
  • the ability to reassure patients and explain therapy exercises and treatment plans
  • the ability to keep your knowledge and skills up to date

Entry Requirements

To apply for a job as a Speech and Language Therapy Support Worker, you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English and Maths. Previous voluntary or paid work experience in a healthcare setting would be an advantage.

The specific entry requirements will depend of the Agenda for Change (AfC) band (2, 3 or 4) for the job. The qualifications asked for may also vary, depending on the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific requirements.

You may also require or be encouraged to work towards an SQA SVQ Level 2 or 3 Healthcare Support (Clinical). Find out more about these qualifications on the VQ Finder website.

You will also need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7

The Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is a framework for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting.

Contact your local Board to find out if this Modern Apprenticeship is available in your area.

For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at




Learning and Development

Working in healthcare brings additional responsibilities therefore your learning journey will start with the HCSW Mandatory Induction Standards.  These Induction Standards are designed to protect the public by ensuring all new staff in NHSScotland understand their role and responsibilities in relation to:

  • protecting patients and the public
  • health, safety and security
  • working with people
  • working and developing in your role

Once you have completed the Mandatory Induction Standards workbook, you will continue to demonstrate that you are working to the HCSW Code of Conduct.

During your career, you may have the opportunity to study for qualifications, such as an SQA HNC Allied Health Professions: Speech and Language Therapy Support (SCQF Level 7).

Speech and language therapy support workers can become associate members of the Royal College of Speech and Language Specialists (RCSLT). The RCSLT provides courses, conferences and seminars where speech and language therapy assistants can update their skills and network with others doing similar work.

Professional Bodies

Find out more information from these professional bodies.

Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological, and in England; social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit the HCPC website to find out more.


Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT)

The RCSLT is the professional body for speech and language therapists in the UK, which provides leadership and sets professional standards. It promotes research, better education and training of speech and language therapists. It also provides information to the public about speech and language therapy. Find out more on the RCSLT website.