Spotlight On Jobs In Social Care

These are tough times and if you’ve lost your job you may be feeling disheartened by the current levels of unemployment. However, there are still more than half a million jobs available, and employers are recruiting.

Together with Jobcentre Plus, over the next six weeks we will inform you which sectors are taking on new recruits. We’ll tell you what skills and experience you need and what you can expect of the work.

We will also bring you a first-hand account from someone already working in the sector.

This week we focus on jobs in social care…

The Care Sector

A career in social care might seem  unglamorous or even a bit too daunting – but it is hugely rewarding.

People who have physical or psychological problems often need help coping with the day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted.

Whatever your age, background or qualifications, you can be sure that in your community there’s a job for you helping others.

This could range from working in a children’s home to helping someone who lives on their own.

And you’ll find there are more opportunities for progression in social care than you think.

You’ll be given training in the skills you need and there’ll be plenty of chances to acquire qualifications.

You could even train to become a care manager, social worker or health worker or nurse.

Rosie Varley, chair of the General Social Care Council, says: “Social care workers do an extremely important job, helping some of the most vulnerable people in society and making a difference to people’s lives.”

Ellie’s story

During 15 years working in social care, Ellie Layfield has supported people with learning difficulties and mental health problems and now trains others working in this field.

“I knew I wanted to work in care when I was at school and volunteered to help children with disabilities,” says Ellie, 36, from London. “I enjoyed getting involved with the children and after graduating from university, I became a support worker with the
charity Mencap.

“Social care may not be the best-paid job, but it’s rewarding because you can help make a difference to people’s lives. And no two days are the same.

“It is not for anyone who wants a nine-to-five job. It can be challenging and frustrating at times, as you don’t always succeed.

“You have to be motivated and patient. You’re trying to empower people, and it takes longer to help someone to make a cup of tea than to make it for them.”


JOBS  There are currently 75,300 caring jobs available on the Jobcentre Plus database.

SALARY AND BENEFITS  Starting salaries between £10,500 and £12,500. With experience and qualifications this rises to £14,000 to £18,000. Senior care workers and supervisors can earn between £20,000 and £27,500.

HOURS AND CONDITIONS  Working hours are likely to include weekends. In residential settings, you may have the occasional overnight stays and in some jobs you may need to live in. Part-time work is often available. If you work in the community you may need to travel between clients’ homes.

SKILLS AND QUALITIES  You will need a friendly and caring approach, a genuine desire to help people and the ability to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Plus patience, a sense of humour, teamworking skills, reliability, flexibility and be able to remain calm under pressure.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT  Once you start as a care assistant you will receive on-the-job training from your employer, which will often include working with experienced colleagues. You may also attend external courses on issues surrounding hygiene, health and safety, and lifting techniques.

For adult social care in England you will be expected to take part in a 12-week induction programme. This is based on a set of national minimum standards of care, which cover areas such as principles of care, understanding your role, safety and communication skills.

For work with children or support for people with learning disabilities you will have additional training. You may also be encouraged to work towards NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Health and Social Care.

OPPORTUNITIES  You will find work with social services, private organisations and voluntary agencies. With experience and qualifications you could progress to a senior care assistant or supervisor job.

FIND A JOB  Vacancies are advertised in newspapers or on the Jobcentre Plus website at