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Getting into Social Care

Posted on 13/12/2014 by Jo Hodge


What is social care?

Social care provides supports to those that are unable to live life fully, such as helping with everyday jobs such as shopping or other practical support to give people more independence from physical, lifestyle, and family, mental or environmental problems.

Why work in social care?

Many people get into social care for the satisfaction gained from trying to help those in need, and developing new relationships that can have a huge impact on those individuals’ lives. Social care jobs are highly rewarding, with lots of responsibility, so staff need to be well skilled and trained with the appropriate qualifications.

Job opportunities within the sector

There are opportunities throughout the UK in social care, with many vacancies in the city boroughs, such as London. Salaries can vary heavily depending on the level of the role, from a starting salary of around £15,000 per annum to over £30,000 per annum for more senior roles.

Many social care jobs are outside the typical working hours of 9-5 Monday- Friday and many offer flexible working hours or the opportunity to work part-time.

There are many different areas within social care, the main ones being:

  • Children and families

  • Learning and disability

  • Mental health

  • Child protection

What roles are available in social care?

Before entering into a career in social care you need to decide what area you want to work in, such as helping the elderly, homeless or victims of domestic abuse. Social care jobs include:

- Qualified Social Workers
- Support Workers
- Care Workers / Managers
- Supported Housing
- Residential Care
- Day or Night Care Assistants

All these roles require different experience and qualifications to enter into them. For entry level roles you may not need formal qualifications. You can develop many of the skills and training needed whilst working.

To become a Social Worker or Senior Practioner you must be qualified, with a degree in social work (undergraduate and postgraduate) which must be approved by the General Social Care Council. The Skills for Care website has lots of information on gaining the qualifications needed for these roles. You will need at least 4 years’ experience when applying for these roles.

Unqualified social care roles, such as Care Managers or Support and Project Workers do not require a degree, although they usually need an NVQ in health and social care.

Supported Housing jobs involve assisting those in supported living, including temporary housing. Many people commence their career as a Trainee Housing Officer. You will need good customer service skills, organisation and admin skills for these types of roles, as you can be looking after 800 service users at any one time.

Other Resources

If you are thinking about beginning a career in social care you may find the following resources helpful:

A volunteering placement will help you gain experience and decide whether social care is for you. Working for a Charity and Volunteering England will provide information on opportunities in your area or your nearest volunteering centre. Also check out the TPP volunteering job board

Whichever career path you decide to take, you can expect each day to be different, challenging but most of all rewarding. For further information on job opportunities available in social care visit our job seekers section of our website or email