Social care is going through an exciting period of change and now is a great time to think about joining this dynamic, rewarding and growing sector. From support workers to social workers and carers to counsellors, there are many diverse career paths to choose from within the social care spectrum, and with a looming skills gap and government measures in place to improve the quality of care across the nation, demand for new staff is surging.
There are many different ways to get into social care right now. Depending on the role you can look at apprenticeship routes, college courses, vocational NVQ training through your employer, access courses, university degrees, masters’ programmes and new postgraduate training schemes for social workers such as Frontline. So, if you want to get into social care and are dedicated to the tasks ahead, there is an option that will be right for you, no matter what your current level of qualifications or experience.
With an ageing population that requires continuous support, one in five Child Protection Social Work jobs currently being vacant, and a national skills gap within social care, there has never been a better time to enter this field for a life-long career. There may be hard times and struggles along the way, but in return, you have the knowledge that every day you are making a difference to the world and you’re there for people who might not have anybody else.
We are also seeing a commitment from our government to look at new ways of working within social care and new standards to aim for, particularly for children’s social workers. Last month, the Queen outlined a new bill which will aim to “improve the standard of social care” and introduce regulators whose duty will be to expand training and oversee accreditation of children’s social workers across the UK. There are also plans to introduce new ways of testing and accrediting social workers, which means that care professionals will have a new level of development after they have graduated, with a clearly defined path as they continue throughout their career. This may eventually see social workers in the United Kingdom adopting similar licensing and accreditation rules as the United States.
Of course, aside from all of the career goals and training options available, the most rewarding thing about social care is doing the job itself. It’s the feeling of knowing that you’re making a difference in the world that makes this line of work so special and that’s something no amount of money can buy. You’ll be working with all types of people, at all stages of their lives and in all kinds of situations. You’ll help make children’s lives better, keep families together and support adults with a range of complex needs. You’ll often be there when nobody else is and fighting for the people who need help, guidance and support the most.
It will be hard at times, but it will be richly fulfilling and never boring. So, if you’re reading this and considering a career in social care, I’m going to leave you with a quote that inspires me to get up every day and keep going through the hard times:
‘One person can make a difference and everyone should try’- JFK
You can make a difference to the world and there are few better careers to do this in than social care. That’s the message we need to get better at telling the world.
Social Work Tutor
Social Work Tutor is a Child Protection Social Worker in England.
You can find out more about his work and campaigns here.
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