Careers in care


You should look at ‘Think Care Careers’. This free online resource from Skills for Care helps you to understand the benefits awaiting you from a career in care.

Find out about social care, how to start a career, what different jobs are available and how to develop a longer-term career within the sector. Using ‘Think Care Careers’ you can learn from people who are working in adult social care and what they find rewarding.

If you want further insight into what working in a care organisation might be like, ‘A Question of Care’ includes films to deepen your understanding.

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Whatever your background, if you have the right values and enthusiasm then a career change into care can be rewarding.

Previous care sector experience is not usually required, as the majority of training and development for roles can be done in the workplace.

Apprenticeships are a great opportunity to develop new care worker, senior carers, team leaders and care managers.

‘Think Care Careers’ is a free online resource which provides further insight about a career in care and the roles available. Skills for Care doesn’t recruit on behalf of care organisations, but using ‘Think Care Careers’ can help you target the roles that interest you.

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Unless you wish to start your career at a senior level, you don’t need to have any existing training and qualifications when joining an adult social care organisation.

English, number and digital and employability skills, including problem solving and team work, are all important core skills for working in adult social care but a good employer can help new staff to develop these further.

If this is your first job, then you’ll most likely be provided with the Care Certificate.  This is induction training, supervision and support that many organisations provide free of charge to those new to the sector. It takes a number of weeks to complete and ensures that you have the relevant knowledge and practical abilities before undertaking care duties.

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Care personal assistants work directly for people who need care and support, helping them with various aspects of their daily life, to help them live as independently as possible.

There are various different ways to become a care personal assistant. If you have experience of working in health or social care, these skills and experience can be equally beneficial to people who employ their own care staff directly.

If you’ve not previously worked in care, you can still become a care personal assistant. We recommend you discuss with your new employer how they are going to arrange appropriate training so you are capable and confident in the care you provide.

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Skills for Care believes that those in the strongest position to be a new care manager will have a number of years of health or adult social care sector experience and a care management qualification. 

If you want to become a care manager, starting a career in care at a more junior position can help aspiring managers to understand the support and supervision needed. 

Apprenticeships provide a practical way into care and many progress through this route into the Higher Apprenticeship role which was developed for the care manager. 

Outside of the apprenticeships standards, you can gradually expand your expertise and experience using the level 2, 3 and 5 diplomas to be an effective manager.

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If you want to become a social worker, the current way to do this is by undertaking a university degree in social work (or if you have a degree already, you may be able to undertake a shorter master’s degree).

‘Think Care Careers’ includes an overview of many social care related roles, including the social worker. It explains what to consider if you’re planning to become a social worker.

Please note that changes are expected over the coming few years, with the likelihood of a social work related apprenticeship route becoming available. Skills for Care will update our website when there is further clarity about this forthcoming opportunity.

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Think Care Careers

You can find out about the different types of adult social care apprenticeships available and the benefits of doing them on the Skills for Care website.

If you want to find an apprentice position, the Government’s ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ website is the one to use. This website is regularly updated when organisations advertise for new apprentices so it’s recommended that you check often if no positions are being advertised when you first look.

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No - Skills for Care is not a recruitment agency and we cannot find you a position on behalf of another organisation. Using our website can help you to better understand the different roles available and some practical approaches to finding a job.

If you’re looking to work in adult social care, we recommend you start with the Government’s ‘Universal Job Match’ or ‘Find an Apprenticeship’. 

Searching various job websites is also recommended and contacting local care services. If you’ve not heard of the care organisation you’re applying for, you can find out more about them from ‘NHS.UK’.

If you’ve not worked in health or social care before, we would recommend that you work directly for an organisation that delivers care. This should provide you with the opportunity to be effectively trained, supported and supervised.

We would only recommend using recruitment agencies if you are already experienced and wish to put your existing skills and competence to use in other services.

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If you’re looking for a new job, choosing a good employer that will support and develop you is important to being happy in your work and enable you to deliver high standards of care.

In 2017, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported that over three quarters of adult social care organisations they inspect are rated good or outstanding. Whilst this means that the majority of care organisation are good, almost a quarter need to improve. When looking for a new position in care use resources like ‘NHS.UK’ to try and find out more about the service, as this often includes reviews. 

Contact the organisation that is recruiting to better understand how they will support you? Ask what the induction will include and whether they will provide you with the opportunity to undertake qualifications or apprenticeships – this is often the sign of a good employer.

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For many working in adult social care, job satisfaction, having the opportunities to develop new skills and deliver high standards of are important. However, pay enables the majority to continue to do the jobs they love.

Pay levels will often vary across different employers, roles and responsibilities. In some organisations people with more experience and qualifications may be paid more than those who don’t have these. 

Skills for Care’s dashboards provides insight into what the average pay is around various adult social care roles. The information available includes both annual salaries and hourly rates. Whilst the dashboards provide only an indication, they can help you to decide how the pay being advertised compares with other organisations. 

Even where pay levels are low, for anybody aged over 25, these should never be any lower than the National Minimum Wage unless the role is voluntary.

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Careers advisors, teachers

I Care….Ambassadors are care workers who inspire and motivate people to understand more about working in social care.

What makes them so special is that they’ve been there and have experience in the job they’re promoting. They can provide compelling insight into a career in adult social care and are well suited to careers events, school visits and talks to those considering working in the sector.

Our I Care….Ambassadors search helps you to select somebody to attend an upcoming event and talk about a specific area of care.  You can refine what you’re looking for and where to find out who is available locally.

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If you want information and resources to help promote a career in adult social care to others, our ‘Think Care Careers’ resource includes a special section for teachers and career advisors.

This includes online information in the form of practical case studies and leaflets, flyers and other resources that you can order from Skills for Care.

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