If you’re suffering from a severe case of job dissatisfaction, why not consider a leap into social care?
Katie Nicholls reveals that the opportunities are varied, the work is rewarding and the door is always open to applicants of every age and from every walk of life.
Why social care?
Ian McClintock made the jump from a 20-year long career in the armed forces to working in care homes. He has a masters degree in corporate management and now works as a chief executive in the care sector. “I have brought some very transferable skills across to my new role,” says Ian. Of the benefits of a working in care, he says, “The satisfaction payback of my job is huge.”
“A career in social care is obviously very rewarding,” confirms Laura Anthony, regional coordinator for Skills for Care, an employer-led authority on the training and development needs of social care staff. “And there are lots of opportunities for progression: You can become the manager of a home, go into social work, housing, education, counselling. With social care you get a lot of training on the job. If you’re ambitious, you can go right to the top.”
Karim Slimane started in furniture design and worked in an opticians before becoming an autism support worker. The personal benefits of his job are clear: “I enjoy helping people to live individual lives with access to everyday things and choices,” enthuses Karim. “You can make a real change to someone’s life and see how people develop over time with your support. I came from a completely different career background and could never go back.”
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Salaries and training
And with salaries ranging from £18K for personal assistant roles to £32K for a senior social worker and £42K for assistant service manager, the financial rewards are there for the taking.
Sound tempting? For a career in social care the routes are varied. If you're out of work then Laura suggests speaking to the Jobcentre who will be aware of any Government intiatives aimed at getting people into social care.
Alternatively, there are apprenticeship schemes, BTEC courses and Higher National Diploma courses that will lay strong foundations for a successful career in social care. Discover the full range of options at Skills for Care or visit the Home Learning College for social care courses that fit around your schedule. You don't need to have a qualification to get a job in social care: "If you hold qualifications, you'll be able to take on roles with more responsibility, but often your attitude and life experiences are more important", Laura says.
If you want to pursue a career as a social worker you need to complete an honours degree in social work. Career changers may be entitled to a bursary to help with costs – but take note that some voluntary experience in social care is prerequisite to being accepted on the course.
Keen to encourage graduates into social work, the Children’s Workforce Development Council has introduced a recruitment scheme, Step Up To Social Work. Aimed at those with a 2:1 degree as well as voluntary experience in the sector, the scheme offers graduates £15,000 to retrain as a social worker.
Keith Brumfitt, the CWDC’s director of strategy told the BBC: "This new scheme is a really positive step in ensuring that we attract the absolute best people to pursue a career in social work. We want to remove potential barriers which may prevent skilled professionals from seeking to train as a social worker."
Laura also has good news for potential care workers. “Care is a recession-free industry. People will always need care no matter what - and there are some big changes going on at the moment. It’s really quite exciting.”