Who, What, Where, How, Why ??“ Handout 1

1. What is Social Care

For all sorts of reasons and at all stages in their lives people need help coping with everyday life. Social care work is about helping people with their lives and supporting them to maintain their independence, dignity and control.

Typical job titles include:
??? personal assistant
??? care worker/care assistant
??? support worker
??? care manager
??? trainer
??? administrator

2. Roles in Social Care:

Home Care or Domiciliary Care
Home support workers enable people who have disabilities or health problems to live more independently in their own homes. For many people, this will prevent them from needing to go into a care home.
Home care workers give the practical support and regular contact that can matter so much to people that rely on help to live at home. Providing someone with care gives them dignity, the independence and the confidence to continue living in their own home.

Day Care
Day service workers provide opportunities for people to take part in activities, meet others and learn skills that can lead to greater independence.

Community Support and Outreach Workers
Support workers help people in the community who have a physical disability, mental health problem, learning disability or sensory impairment. Their main task is to work with people to support them to live independently. As part of an outreach team, for example, social care workers may visit people in their own homes to support them to use resources in the community such as libraries or leisure facilities.

Residential Care and Supported Housing
Residential care, nursing care or supported housing can provide solutions to people who are no longer able to cope in their own homes. Workers help to provide a safe and homely place where people can live in comfort and be treated with dignity and respect.

Independent Living
A newer role in social care is the personal assistant who works with one person with a long-term condition, such as a disability, to provide whatever practical support they need. Helping people to gain or maintain control of their own lives is the key to helping them to live independently

3. Who uses care services

Social care services support people across the adult age range for a huge variety of reasons, and as the work is person-centred each instance should be tailored accordingly. The main categories of reasons for social care being needed are infirm old age and/or any form of disability that affects a person??™s ability to enjoy an ???ordinary life??™, whether in their own home or with attendance at a day centre or in a residential setting. This includes people with dementia or other often age-related conditions, as well as those with one or more of physical disabilities, learning difficulties including autistic-spectrum disorders, mental ill-health of varying severities, and a wide range of long term medical conditions. People who use social care services may therefore very often also be using health and/or housing services, and will want those to join up effectively with their social care. For many people, social care services support the care they receive from a relative or friend who is their main carer. Some people who use social care are finding that the best way to tailor their care to their own needs is to directly employ their own care workers, as shown below.

4. Why choose social care as a career

Social care offers jobs which suit many people at different stages of their lives.

Workers are employed in a range of services working with adults, older people and children and families. Depending on your role, no two days are likely to be the same. You can gain an enormous sense of personal achievement from knowing that your job is helping people and contributing to a caring society. Many jobs offer flexible hours or you can choose to work part time as well as have a full time career.

Additional careers information can be found on the following website:

If you want a career that offers:

??? job satisfaction
??? good long term employment prospects
??? good training leading to qualifications
??? the chance to make a difference to people??™s lives
??? work in an environment to suit your preference
??? a job where every day is different
??? flexibility to fit round family or other commitment

??¦then social care is for you.

5. What type of person do I need to be

It does not matter who you are, how old you are, or what your qualifications are, somewhere in your community theres a job that you can do helping others. If you like working with people, social care work offers a worthwhile job that could turn into a rewarding career.

You are likely to enjoy a career in social care if you are:

??? able to work with people
??? considerate and interested in people
??? keen to help people maintain their dignity
??? able to listen and communicate with others
??? patient
??? calm in new and different situations
??? responsible and respect all types of people
??? able to understand the needs of others
??? willing to learn and be flexible

You will need to be willing:
??? to be trained and achieve the relevant qualification
??? in some jobs to work flexible hours
??? to work as part of a team with other social care, health and other professionals
??? in some jobs, to work on your own but still be part of a team

6. Who would I work for

Your employer could be a local authority, a large company or a small business, a voluntary organisation or an individual buying his or her own services. If you want to know where in your local area you can find details of social care vacancies, use the web addresses below, or look in your local paper, national publications or your local authority website.

There are links to employers at the following sites:

British Association of Social Workers –
Social Care Association -?
Community Care -?
ecarers -?
Local Government Jobs -?
jobcentreplus -?
The Guardian -?
Jobs in social care -?
Learn Direct –

7. How would I start

Whatever your circumstances, a career in social care is what you make it. People start work in social care at many levels, from a wide range of backgrounds and in a variety of different jobs.

You could enter:
??? through being a volunteer, an unpaid carer for a member of your family, a friend or neighbour or a person who uses services
??? returning to work after having a family or being made redundant
??? from other types of jobs such as administration or training
??? as a practitioner or manager in related sectors such as health, education or criminal justice
??? for a complete career change