What does social care involve?
As a social carer, your role would be to offer day-to-day assistance to a wide range of people, such as those with physical disablities or mental handicaps; children in foster homes or care homes; or the elderly who may be too fragile to do things by themselves. Your assistance could be given in the form of helpipng them do simple things like washing, and dressing themselves; it could be to make them food, or do their shopping; it could be to help them learn and develop new skills; it could simply be to offer them some company and friendship. Whatever you are required in each instance, one thing is for certain: a career in social care offers the opportunity to meet and get to know a wide range of people and high job satisfaction.
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Why should I apply for a career in social care?
There are a number of reasons why you might want to apply for a job in social care:
- A rewarding career - how many jobs can you get where you can see how effective and appreciated your daily contribution will be? How many jobs can you get where you will be able to see first hand the fruits of your labour? How many jobs can you get that enable you to go home at the end of the day and think "I made a difference"? A career in social care can.
- An expanding sector - advances in medical care has meant people are living longer; and this in turn means more and more people are living to an age where they will need daily, and sometimes even constant care. The social care sector is one of the few areas that continues to expand and hire new staff in this economic crisis, and it offers the perfect opportunity for young people.
- A route into healthcare - care experience can be a very attractive attribute for those who wish to go into the healthcare sector to possess and working as a social carer can give you a wide range of these experiences that could benefit you in the future.
Training and Applicants
Most employers will offer you the formal training you need, as well as supporting you to gaining important skills and specific qualifications, such as NVQs level 2 and 3 in Health and Social Care. You will also benefit from working closely with trained and experienced colleagues. The great thing about a career in social care is that you don't need any specific academic qualifications to apply; what is most important is that you have excellent people skills, and vitally, the motivation to face difficult situations and help make a difference. Important characteristics are:
- a friendly and caring approach
- a genuine desire to help people
- the ability to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds
- tact and sensitivity
- a respectful approach to clients
- patience and a sense of humour
- reliability and flexibility
- teamworking skills and the ability to work on your own initiative
- the ability to work within health and safety guidelines
- the ability to remain calm under pressure.
All applicants are likely to be required to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check
What opportunities are available within the sector?
There have been more than 20,000 social care jobs advertised on the JobcentrePlus website in the last month, which shows just how many opportunities there are for young people to get involved in this sector. These can be for social services, private organisations or even voluntary agencies.
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- Salaries generally start between £10,500-£12,500 per year (meaning graduates wouldn't have to start paying their student loans back!) Experience and qualifications will see this rise to between £14,000-£18,000.
- Working hours are likely to include weekends, and sometimes you may be required to be available overnight.
When did you begin training?
How did you find the traning?
Did/do you enjoy the job?
Have you gained anything from this job and if so, what?