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Health and Social Care Jobs and Careers

One of the most crucial roles in a society that supports the wellbeing of all its members is that of social carer, better known as social worker. This professional provides support to individuals who are in crisis or who are excluded. They are particularly known for their work with children, when parents are unable to provide the care required.

Social workers are employed within the public sector, normally by local authorities. Their role is to support individuals, families and other groups. They work within homes, schools, hospitals or other public sector organisations. Their concerns take in facilities such as children's services, the foster care system, crisis help lines, refuge centres, probation offices and other assistance programmes.

The profession can be divided into four areas:

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Social Worker Jobs Description

A social worker will be involved with a number of the following, depending on their area of specialisation.

Type of Person Required for Health and Social Care Jobs

The right person to be a social worker needs to have a wide range of skills and personal qualities.

The fundamental requirement is an interest in the community, a giving nature and a strong desire to help others. This desire to help must be genuine, as the role is often thankless.

Other important characteristics:

Training for Health and Social Care Jobs

Social workers need to be qualified at least to Bachelor's degree level. In the UK, degrees need to be on the approved list of the General Social Care Council (GSCC). Subjects can be social work, although psychology and sociology are also acceptable subjects for entering the profession.

Today, many positions require a Masters degree in social work. A Bachelor's degree to a minimum of 2.2 is required, together with relevant experience in a paid position within the community or through relevant voluntary work.

The Diploma in Social Work (DipSW) is still recognised, as are other previous social work qualifications. People who have taken a Higher National Diploma or foundation degree can usually access a Bachelor's degree in Social Work.

Hours and Salary

Social workers usually work around 37 hours a week. If involved with residential care, hours may be variable and involve shift work or non-office hours as a normal part of the job. Some part-time positions and job shares are available.

The exact nature of the role depends on the sector of work. Most social workers are members of multi-disciplinary teams, consisting of various therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, community nurses, etc. Consequently, while the work is office-based, much time is spent driving to different locations.

Salaries vary, although freshly qualified social workers would expect to earn a minimum of 18,000 a year, rising to 30,000 with additional responsibilities and experience. These figures would be higher in London where the cost of living is higher. However, there is much variation from one employer to another.

Benefits are sometimes available to enhance the packages available to new employees. As well as car user allowances, car lease schemes and help with childcare, some employers offer introductory payments.

At present, skilled social workers are in demand, particularly within family work. Jobs are available in most regions.

Social Care Job Sites

More Information for Health and Social Care Jobs


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