Social care is rarely a glamorous job, but it is one of the most crucial roles in today’s society.
Across the UK there are millions of vulnerable individuals who rely on care workers. These include the elderly, disabled adults and children, young offenders, people living with mental illness, veterans and many more. By working in care, you can help these people to live their lives as fully as possible, stay off the streets and fulfil their potential as members of the community.
Currently, nearly 1.5 million people work in the social care sector, but there is still a dire shortage of care workers. Its estimated that at least another half a million roles need to be filled by 2030.
Social care workers often provide support on the most practical, day-to-day level and they are indispensable to their community. You may never have an office in Canary Wharf, but you would always be working towards something meaningful and deeply important.
What kind of jobs do social care workers do?
Working in care isn’t your standard office job- there is a wide variety of different roles within the sector that are both direct and indirect.
Direct roles include personal assistants to people living with disabilities, helping them to live as independently as possible in the community. There are also activities organisers, who plan and lead events for disabled and/or vulnerable people to develop and socialise, as well as support workers for people struggling with mental illness and many more.
There are also lots of indirect roles including management, volunteer co-ordination and maintenance which you can read more about below!
Many care workers are based in institutions, such as hospitals and retirement homes. However, care roles can be very mobile, involving visiting homes and being out and about in the community.
Starting a Career in Care: The Many Ways In
Don’t have any social care qualifications? Never had a job in care before? Never worked full stop before? No problem.
There are many ways in to a career in care. If you’ve never worked in the sector before, an apprenticeship is one of the best ways to train on the job, and get paid while you gain your qualifications.
There are also traineeships designed specially for 16-24 year olds who are not in employment. They’ll help you boost your CV writing skills, while also including a work placement so that you can learn practical care skills. Lots of young people aren’t sure what they want to do when they leave school- if this sounds like you, a traineeship can give you an insight in to one of the most rewarding and meaningful careers out there.
Even if you ultimately decide that care work isn’t for you, you’ll still have been able to make a real difference to somebody’s life, and picked up some of that all important work experience on the way.
Worried about experience?
Volunteering can be a great way to gain experience in social care, but for many people that just isn’t an option. Luckily, many social care roles do not require experience because full training is provided.
The Wilberforce Trust is currently recruiting Care Support Workers around York. They provide full training and will fund you to complete an NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care. Although they value any kind of experience (including time spent caring for family members), their most important requirement is a caring and sensitive nature.
The NHS Graduate Management Programme is a scheme designed specially to help university graduates with a 2:2 or higher degree in any subject to start their career in care. Not only will you gain a full management qualification in just one year, you will also learn how to make real improvements to social care at management level that could change many lives for the better.
Not sure about working directly in social care, but still want to help?
We need you too!
There are many other roles in the industry that are vitally important to the social care system. These include administration, finance, volunteer co-ordination, marketing and many more.
There are lots of jobs that we don’t generally associate with social care, but most care schemes could not survive without drivers, cleaners, cooks and maintenance workers.
If you’re seeking a career in one of these professions, why not search within social care facilities? Not only will your skills be vitally important to them, you’ll also be providing support at one of the most practical levels for vulnerable people.
If you think you might be interested in a career in care, have a look at these resources for more information!