If you’re suffering from a severe bout of career dissatisfaction, why not consider a career in social care? It might just be the career for you, especially if you have a caring nature, can stay calm under pressure and are a good problem solver. Below are several great reasons to consider a career in social care.
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1. It’s a thriving sector
According to Prospects, the social care sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK. Currently, 1.5 million people in the UK are employed in the social care sector, and it is estimated that, by 2025, an extra 1 million people will be needed. People of all ages, colours and creeds rely on the services of social carers; and the door to social care work is open to adults of all ages, colours and creeds. Care is always needed; social care work is pretty much recession-proof.
The main graduate employers for social care workers include local authorities, the NHS (UK), charities and voluntary organisations, residential and non-residential organisations, independent organisations, and educational establishments. As there are a variety of disciplines in the social care sector, it should be pretty easy to find a job that suits you; employment opportunities are grouped into areas such as youth and community work, counselling, child protection, and supporting independent living.
2. You won’t be chained to a desk
At any point in time, you could be called to the scene of a crisis or visiting a client in hospital. Supporting people, usually in desperate need of support, requires face-to-face engagement, not a phone call from the office. Social workers are regularly on the move, whether they are visiting schools, hospitals, universities or their clients’ homes.
3. Diverse career opportunities
Although many social workers choose to specialise in one area, for example supporting independent living, to begin with, social workers receive training in all aspects of the profession, from substance abuse to child protection. This means that once you qualify, you could later change specialty if you discover your initial choice no longer works for you.
4. Ongoing support
As a social care worker, you’ll receive plenty of support and training to ensure you are equipped to perform your job effectively and to standards. Opportunities for development abound, depending on your needs, making social care work a great long-term career prospect. Furthermore, social care workers receive regular supervision to ensure they are working to best practices and receive all the support they need.
5. Flexible working
Many social care roles offer hours outside of the typical 9 to 5 stint, enabling workers to balance their work lives with their home lives. A variety of working arrangements are typically offered by organisations that employ social care workers, for example working longer shifts on fewer days, work on a “casual” basis, and part-time work.
6. You learn to count your blessings
Life’s not fair. And as a social worker, you’ll be faced with the stark reality of this truth. You may be working with people who have experienced untold tragedy in their lives. People who have lost everything they ever had – including their families. People who have succumbed to the worst addictions. And you’ll take fewer things for granted.
7. You can be a voice for those who do not have one
Social workers work at the ‘cutting edge’; they bear witness to some of the most appalling injustices inflicted upon people by society’s ills. You can “question, challenge and speak out about difficult issues”, and you can take practical steps to improve the status quo: you can be the one who made things better.
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If you’re considering social work, the good news is that there is more than one route in to the profession. If you feel you have the qualities to succeed in the profession, you’ll probably discover what many in the profession already know: it’s the best job in the world.