Jobs and career opportunities
There are a lot of different job roles that come under the umbrella of social care. Here is some information about a few of them.
Remember that all social care workers, no matter where they work, need to maintain a record of their activities that can be shared with the individuals they care for, and possibly other professionals.
1. Residential care
Care assistants, working with older people who may have physical conditions and/or dementia, might be involved in:
- Helping with personal care such as washing, dressing or using the toilet
- Helping individuals with eating and drinking
- Accompanying individuals to activities outside the home
- Helping individuals keep in touch with their families, hobbies or interests
- Administering medication or carrying out minor health checks
- Caring for someone at the end of their life.
An activity worker is employed to find out the interests and hobbies of people who live in the residential home and to organise a range of activities for individuals and groups.
Residential child care worker
Residential homes for young people tend to care for a maximum of 6 young people. They will usually be teenagers and will be in the care of the local authority. The work can involve:
- Personal care if the young person has a disability
- Supporting behaviour management
- Encouraging young people to take part in education
- Enabling young people to develop hobbies and interests.
Day care worker
Day centres or luncheon clubs provide a break in the day for adults. Working in day centres might involve:
- Personal care
- Support with eating and drinking
- Arranging activities and supporting people to participate.
An advocate speaks for people who may not be able to speak clearly for themselves. They can be involved in issues such as:
- Mental health legal decisions
- Decisions about whether a person is able to make a particular lifestyle choice.
3. Individual’s own home
Domiciliary care worker
Home care is similar to a care assistant but in the person’s own home. It might also involve:
- Preparation of food
- Light cleaning
- Helping families cope with practical difficulties.
Reablement is about helping people (who, for example, might have been in hospital) return to their own homes and live independently. Reablement workers help people to gain in confidence and/or learn new or different ways of coping with their day-to-day lives. Some reablement might take place in a residential setting, but this would only be for a short period – usually not more than six weeks.
Early Help / Flying Start / Sure Start
These staff work with children and families where a school health visitor or social worker has identified a need for additional support. There are several different names for the job role but in each case the work is usually targeted and not long term. The role might involve:
- Help with parenting skills such as behaviour management
- Helping parents to manage their time
- Teaching parents about child care and child development
- Working with other professionals to monitor a child’s welfare.
Support workers usually work with individuals in their own home and in the community. A support worker might be involved with:
- Helping people make and keep appointments
- Helping people become involved with social activities
- Offering advice and support about aspects of daily life such as finances, housing, cooking and cleaning, budgeting, relationships and keeping safe.
A personal adviser works with young people who are preparing to leave (or have left) the care of the local authority. They help with:
- Independent living
- Education and employment
- Managing day-to-day living.
Personal advisers make plans with young people to support the transition from child to adult. They can work with young people up to the age of 25.
Some people employ assistants to help with various aspects of their daily life. This can involve the kind of tasks carried out by a support worker and domiciliary care worker. Some personal assistants work for agencies, others are directly employed by the individual or their family.
4. Your own home
Foster carers care for children and young people in their own home. The children will be in the care of the local authority so the work involves close liaison with social workers and other professionals. It is possible to specialise within the fostering service for example:
- Emergency short term placements
- Young mother and baby care
- Long term placements
- Pre-adoption placements
- Short breaks for families
- Specialised and therapeutic care for children with specific needs, such as a disability or addiction.
A shared life arrangement is where you open your home to an adult. It may be someone with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or someone who is older and requires regular support. Shared lives can be done on a permanent basis or organised as a way of providing short breaks to family carers. The role might involve:
- Helping with day-to-day tasks such as cooking, showering, or using the toilet
- Going on holiday together
- Involving the individual in aspects of your family life
- Helping the individual participate in community activities.
Remember that some settings, such as residential care, day centres or luncheon clubs need catering staff as well as care staff, and all settings require administrative staff. If you are not sure that providing care is right for you, consider some of the other options that may be available.