So what is social care?
Social care workers provide care, support and help for those who need it most.
Many people depend on social care professionals to look after relatives who are elderly, managing long-term conditions or need support to sustain their quality of life.
The social care sector is a rewarding career path with multiple options and settings to choose from, so is it for you, or are you an experienced social care worker and fancy a change of speciality? Have a whizz and check out some different sectors.
Here we look at some of the social care settings to choose from, and the variety of jobs to consider. These include the roles, essential skills, and potential work locations for careers in:
Mental Health Social Care
Social care jobs in the mental health sector range from management tier roles to casual support vacancies. Often employers talk about a candidates personality and mindset over experience and understanding.
The essential skills often quoted include being:
- Able and willing to communicate with people
- Capable of working independently and in a team
- Happy to listen, prioritise and be flexible to a clients’ needs
- Reliable, dependable, honest and punctual
What Jobs Are Available in Mental Health?
Roles in mental health social care include:
- Helping people to live independently and manage a budget
- Providing regular assistance with administration such as claiming benefits
- Delivering professional therapy sessions or counselling support
- Providing personal care, either one-to-one or in group settings
Given this broad range of roles, mental health care is delivered in care centres, in the community, in peoples’ private home and social housing.
Homelessness is an area of social care requiring a range of skills that can include practical help, medical support and assistance with housing, registering for income support and employability skills.
The most critical skills for a social care worker in the homelessness sector are patience and listening. Some homeless people are resistant to receiving the care on offer, while others have complex needs requiring several agencies or support teams to work together so having the right personality is a key skill!
Roles and Opportunities in Homeless Support?
Jobs in homeless support can include:
- Practical assistance with accessing hostel spaces and applying for benefits
- Helping with medical needs and access to self-care facilities
- Mental health support and referrals to dedicated services
- Providing access to essentials such as sleeping bags, warm food and shelter
A homelessness care worker could staff a regular clinic running at different sites, might be based permanently in one space, or travel around the local area providing services on-demand or on referral.
Support Workers in Learning Disabilities
People with learning difficulties are of all ages and at all stages of life. A social care role in the learning difficulties sector helps those people achieve all that they wish to and supports a better quality of life to ensure they are never isolated or held back.
Essential skills are being professional, understanding and having a proactive approach to both the support you provide and continuing to learn and progress in your social care role.
Learning Disability Careers and Settings?
As with all social care jobs, specialising in learning difficulties opens up a world of career prospects working with children or adults, in schools, the community or care facilities.
You could coordinate activities, act as an advocate, or specialise in finding routes to employment or provide essential supported living in a small residential unit.
Supported living social care is about enabling people to live comfortably and as independently as possible while receiving help and support when they need it.
Supported living is the middle ground between living independently and a residential care home. The most vital aspect of social care is to provide the right amount of support to help people live well, without being at risk or struggling to complete essential activities.
Understand more about what’s involved with supported living jobs.
What Roles Are Available in Supported Living?
This type of social care role is in supported housing facilities, in dedicated residential care, or people’s private homes. Roles in supported living often include working shifts, sometimes at night, and irregular hours to ensure that clients have access to help around the clock.
Jobs can include practical support with everyday life such as washing, dressing and travel, helping with medical needs or administering treatments, and supporting a patient with communications, activities and things like laundry and cooking.
Home Care (Domiciliary Care)
Domiciliary care is similar to supported living in that you are supporting people to live as independently as possible in their own homes. Home care workers are much in demand and often need to be able to drive, with access to a car.
Home care means that clients remain living in their own homes and receive social care support in their residence and can relate to a variety of needs crossing all specialities including elderly, early dementia, learning diabilities and mental health clients etc.
Care Home Settings
Choosing a care home for a loved one is a complex and challenging situation. Nurses, care assistants and other care home roles are invaluable in providing support not only for the residents but also for their families.
Given the residential nature of a care home role, many staff work shifts which can involve night work. The most valuable skills for a career in a care home are compassion, patience, and a commitment to providing the best possible care for your clients.
Complex Needs Care
Complex needs jobs combine services to provide the best care for people with ongoing need. Complex needs can include people with severe conditions or illnesses who may rely on social care workers for a lifetime of support and help.
As a support worker or project worker with complex needs clients, you could work at a permanent residential home, on a medical support facility, in and around clients’ homes or at a centre or outreach facility.
Complex Needs Areas of Provision?
Every person in receipt of complex needs support will be individual, and their care package different.
- Nursing and medical support with ongoing care or treatment
- Personal assistant roles in helping people with their everyday lives
- Practical assistance with things like shopping, filling in forms and getting around
- Social assistance with activities, community-led support and family communication
- Residential care provision from a dedicated facility