starting a career in social care.

23/01/2019

It is possible for anyone who wishes to make a difference to the lives of those who require support in the community, or in care homes, to find rewarding work in a range of roles - social care workers are among the most envied in the UK workforce. This article highlights just some of the options available and the qualifications required to start a career in social care.

Starting out in care

Social care is one of those rare sections of the job market where it is not necessary to have any formal qualifications in order to find meaningful employment. In addition, it is relatively easy for people of any age who are looking for a change of career to make the transition to the social care sector.

"it also helps to have a sense of humour"

The majority of employers offer on-the-job training, e-learning and college courses to individuals who would like to acquire new skills and enhance their career prospects.

One of the key requirements for anyone who is thinking about a starting a career in social care is that they enjoy working with people and have the patience and understanding to deal with situations that can, on occasions, become quite challenging. It also helps to have a sense of humour and, depending on the specific job, be prepared to work shifts and at the weekend.

Qualifications desired

As mentioned previously, there are a number of social care jobs that do not require any qualifications and for which training courses are provided by employers. For students who wish to enter the profession, however, there are degree courses available in health and social care.

"what potential employers are looking for is life experience and maturity"

The types of social care jobs that are open to graduates include management and administration, personal services, and associate professional and technical occupations.

It is not unusual for employers, including local authorities, to sponsor students and other employees wishing to take a relevant degree course, nor is it a disadvantage for a graduate to have taken a degree course in a completely unrelated subject. What potential employers are looking for is life experience and maturity. One area that will be particularly advantageous to candidates who are looking to demonstrate their experience of interacting with a cross section of people who are likely to use social services, is through taking part-time work or volunteering.

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Jobs in the social care sector

The term ‘social care’ covers a whole range of jobs and just a few examples of these are listed below.

Residential carers and social workers are responsible for supervising and caring for groups of individuals, such as the mentally or physically challenged, the elderly, children, and those with drug or alcohol abuse issues.

Field social workers specialise in dealing with problems associated with child welfare; improving or restoring acceptable social conditions for an entire community or an individual family; placing children in foster homes and going on to offer them long-term advice and support.

Youth workers are involved in the provision of youth projects to local communities with a target age group of 12 to 21-year-olds. They may also be called upon to work on a one-to-one basis and to organise group activities.

Care assistants help individuals who have difficulty in carrying out their routine daily activities. This typically includes older people, children and those with learning or physical disabilities.