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          Helping you find a career in the social care industry

          Working in social care your time will be dedicated to helping others and you will likely work particularly closely with vulnerable groups. If you are a sensitive person who enjoys the notion of supporting people to live the fullest life possible, you will enjoy a career in social care.

          Within social care you could be working across a range of different age groups through a service, or choose to specialise in a specific area such as drug and alcohol misuse, refugees and immigrants, disability support, or mental health.

          These groups have different needs and therefore require different services, so specialising can help you to provide the best social care possible.

          Alternatively, you could work in social care through local government by doing community or policy work. This route would be better suited to those who enjoy project planning and implementation rather than working directly with individuals, but it is a great option for those who are looking to make a difference to the quality of life of others with their work.

          The majority of social care roles will be found in the public sector. The largest employers are local authorities and the NHS, both of which can also offer the highest levels of job security.

          Social care is an incredibly rewarding career that allows you to be paid for helping others. It can give immense feelings of satisfaction and you will be making a tangible difference to the quality of people's lives.

          As you are likely to be working with vulnerable individuals, you may need to undergo background checks (e.g. Disclosure & Barring Service - DBS) to ensure your suitability for the role. The vast majority of employers will conduct these checks on your behalf when considering whether to make you a job offer.

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          Skills & interests required for a career in Social care

          Social care requires impeccable communication skills and the ability to build up a good rapport with people quickly. You'll also need to be sensitive to the circumstances of others and be able to handle delicate situations with tact and professionalism.

          The work in this industry can be quite stressful as you will encounter emotionally difficult situations. Learning to cope with this is a skill that you'll develop throughout your career.

          The knowledge and skills that you require may differ slightly depending on which area of social care you wish to specialise in. For example, disability support will require you to understand the different needs that come with a variety of disabilities alongside people's legal rights.

          Social care apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers

          Advanced apprenticeships are available for school-leavers who wish to work in social services. This'll allow you to learn the essential skills and pick up experience in social work whilst earning. There is also a degree-level apprenticeship programme. Without a degree, you may find yourself unable to progress beyond an assistant level. To become a qualified social worker you will have to obtain a degree that is recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

          Once you have qualified as a social worker, you could progress into a senior or more specialist role with experience. Eventually you may manage a team and be responsible developing and implementing social care strategies.

          You can become a care assistant without a degree, although to progress further in your career you may be asked to complete a certificate or diploma. There are a selection of health and social care apprenticeships that will be tailored for you to work towards becoming a qualified care worker.

          Tips for getting into the field

          Publications such as Community Care report on developments within the social care industry and are a great way to keep up to date.

          As these roles are concerned with providing care for others, it will help if this is a demonstrable interest of yours on your CV. There are numerous volunteer opportunities for this throughout the country - try contacting your local youth groups, theatres or community centres.

          What do Social care professionals get paid?

          As an apprentice you will be paid from the beginning. In The minimum rate that you will be on in your first year is £3.70. After this, the rates of pay differ slightly depending on your age and are as follows:

          Under 18 - £4.20 per hour 18 to 20 - £5.90 per hour 21 and over - £7.39 per hour 25 and over - £7.83 per hour

          However, some employers will pay significantly more than this.

          Once qualified social workers employed by the NHS start between £20,000-£26,000. As you progress you can expect this to increase to around £30,000-£35,000. The wide range of roles mean that the pay also varies widely, but here are some typical salaries for roles within social care:

          Youth worker - £20,000 Community support worker - £17,000 Residential support worker - £17,500

          What qualifications do I need for a career in Social care?

          Many intermediate and advanced apprenticeships do not have formal education requirements, but others require at least 5 A*-C grade GCSEs. You will also need to have a DBS check when working with children or vulnerable people.

          Many of these courses also require you to be employed in a Health and Social Care setting.

          Read more about the Social care industry


          Community Care


          Social care industry bodies

          Health and Care Professions Council

          National Care Association

          Care Council for Wales

          Scottish Social Services Council