Even before the impact of Coronavirus, the UK care workforce was experiencing a huge shortage of talent. Now with the pressure put on the sector by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with new restrictions on EU nationals entering the workforce imposed by Brexit, this skills shortage is at a critical point.
But working in care is often misunderstood. So why should you consider a role within the social care sector?
Social care in the UK is a much bigger sector than you might think. There are more than 1.5 million people working in the industry. There are opportunities to work in a plethora of diverse settings such as care homes, community centres, hostels, probation offices, prisons, homeless shelters, schools, nurseries, hospitals and clients’ own homes.
Whatever position you work in within care, you can expect new environments, to meet new people and be completing various different tasks. You may look after a wide range of individuals with differing health conditions and ever-changing needs. Every person you encounter and situation you face is unique.
The variety of career routes available within of the care industry means you’ll be able to continually develop and learn new skills.
People need care around the clock, which means hours are available in a variety of combinations. There are live-in care opportunities for those who want to do days at a time or longer. If you need shorter hours, daily visits or overnight care might fit into your lifestyle better. If you’re wanting to study, entry-level care roles can often offer flexible hours to work around it.
In addition, many care jobs allow you to work in the area you live, which means there’s no stressful commute and travel expenses are kept to a minimum.
Whatever personal commitments you have, there are invariably hours to suit your schedule.
Social care services are growing and changing all the time, which means there are lots of opportunities to develop and progress.
When you start working in the sector, you’ll usually receive training to achieve the Care Certificate, as well as training specific to your role. There are many qualifications to be earned throughout your career in this highly regulated industry, and your CV will come to reflect this. Many employers will pay for you to do these qualifications as well.
Working in care can also act as a stepping stone to gain experience for a career in nursing or social work.
Not only that, but the unique challenges you will face every day will help you develop unrivalled soft skills such as empathy, communication, problem-solving and adaptability.
Carers are in huge demand in the UK. Unlike many sectors that are losing workers because of various socio-economic factors, a career in social care offers long-term employment prospects, with opportunity for promotion and progression as well as job security.
Adult social care is one of the few sectors where jobs are increasing, offering significant numbers of long-term career opportunities in the current job market, meaning finding a job is easier.
Many job descriptions claim that no two days are ever the same, but with care it is truly the case. This job constantly keeps you on your toes.
Working with people who have different life experiences and stories to tell can be eye-opening and character-building. You’ll gain new perspectives, build meaningful relationships and learn new things about yourself. You’ll develop gratitude for things you previously took for granted, and be inspired by the human capacity to overcome adversity.
Above all, a role in social care is one of the most rewarding jobs you can do.
Whether you’re a registered manager overseeing a large independent living site or a youth worker providing essential guidance to a young person, you have the potential to truly help someone. The smallest things can make the biggest difference to someone who is struggling to cope. In some cases, you may be the only social contact that person receives, and knowing you have helped put a smile on their face is one of the greatest rewards you can get.
You may not get a thank you every day, but the feeling of knowing that you’ve made a difference to someone’s life makes the job worthwhile. Few jobs will give you the same sense of satisfaction and pride you gain from helping those in need. As life-affirming jobs go, it doesn’t get much better.
Working in care isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy working with people and are looking for a rewarding yet challenging role, have a look to see what social care careers may suit you.
Search for social care jobs in your area here.