Online ExpertTrack in Healthcare & Medicine

Introduction to Social Care

Gain an introduction to social care and understanding of paid and unpaid care work in today’s social care sector.

Created by

The Open UniversityThe Open University

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Explore the social care sector to support your learning goals

Social care provides support to people who need help with day-to-day living for various reasons, for example, illness or disability. It covers a huge range of services from child protection to end-of-life care.

Over 12 weeks, the three courses in this ExpertTrack will give you a solid introduction to the social care sector. You’ll explore what social care is, what it’s like to work in the sector and the significant role played by unpaid carers who provide much of the care.

Understand today’s fast-changing and diverse social care sector

You’ll learn about the nature of care provided to adults and children with differing support needs, including people with physical and learning disabilities, mental health problems, and older people.

Discover social care services, needs, and types of care

You’ll explore the importance of the social care sector, looking at different individual needs and situations. You’ll learn about paid social care work, including the different settings, the principles that guide practice, the skills needed, and the issues faced by social care workers.

You will also learn about informal care, who makes up this group, the challenges, and the support available to carry out this important role.

Build knowledge of social care with experts at The Open University

For over 30 years, The Open University has delivered world-class learning in this field. It’s one of the largest and most innovative learning providers in the health and social care sector, working with employers, including the NHS, social services, and the voluntary sector.

By the end of this ExpertTrack you’ll have increased empathy for and an understanding of those in the social care sector and will have reflected on your own caring activities and responsibilities, or those of others. You’ll be able to apply the underpinning principles of person-centred social care to caring situations and know the essential skills and values for care and work. You will also have an overview of how social care is structured, paid for and externally monitored.

Whether you are aspiring to work within social care or have a personal interest or responsibility for caring for others, the courses in this ExpertTrack can help you increase your knowledge, achieve your learning goals and make a difference.

Key skills you will learn

  • Essential communication skills for care and work
  • Identify personal and career development goals related to social care 
  • Self-reflection of own care activities and those of others  
  • Recognise professional boundaries
  • Develop empathy and understanding of those using social care services and working in the social care sector 
  • The underpinning principles of person-centred social care, including rights, independence, choice and inclusion

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Identify the guiding practices in professional care and their differences from the activities and experiences of unpaid carers
  • Reflect on the experiences of social care from your own and others’ perspectives
  • Apply underpinning principles and values used in social care to understand and critique practice situations
  • Discuss the relevance of person-centred values to the conduct required of professional care workers
  • Describe the context in which social care takes place

Experience required

This ExpertTrack is ideal for anyone interested in learning about social care with a UK focus. You don’t need any prior knowledge of social care to join. The course material does not assume that learners are currently working.

Whether you’re involved in care work (paid or unpaid), use services yourself, or have a personal interest, this ExpertTrack will help you build knowledge, understanding, and skills, and can also prepare you for further study in this area.

Getting started

This ExpertTrack is particularly suitable for:

  • Anyone new to social care or those with a basic understanding who want to learn more
  • Those considering working in social care
  • Informal unpaid carers, or those who want to find out how to support others in our care system
  • Social care service users

ExpertTrack course overview

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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How ExpertTracks work

Join an ExpertTrack to master new skills in your chosen specialist area. Work through a series of topic-focused courses at your own pace, and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate award which proves your expertise.

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World-class learning with The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Meet your instructors

I've worked in health and education settings, and have researched workplace learning. I'm interested in how people maintain their health and wellbeing through life’s challenges.

I'm a registered social worker and have worked in social care and social work. At the Open University, I've enjoyed teaching and supporting students from their first steps up to postgraduate level.

Senior Lecturer in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care with research interests focusing on the intersection of practice-based learning and care.

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ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

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