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The flexible career

Discover a job that fits around your family’s needs and for which you’re probably already qualified – social care…

If you’re thinking of dipping your toe in the world of work again, but need to find something that will allow you to pick up the kids from school or make it to their sports day and nativity plays – a career in social care could be the answer.

What’s more, jobs in this sector will draw on the skills you already have and use every day, as a carer to your own children and family.


What is social care?
Broadly speaking, social care jobs involve providing practical support to help people maintain their own independence and lead fuller lives.

From children to the elderly, and people with learning difficulties to those with physical disabilities, you can make a real difference to the people you care for. The work also offers a level of flexibility that means it can fit in around your family commitments. There are many part-time jobs and lots of positions are outside the typical nine-to-five office hours.

You could be working in a residential care home, a day centre or out in the community. Working with children might involve spending time in youth centres and drop-in centres, for example; a job as a personal assistant could see you based in someone’s home helping them closely with the practicalities of daily life; and a job looking after the elderly might involve working in a residential home.

Fulfilling and worthwhile
The most satisfying careers are always those that involve something you really care about. So, if you have a genuine passion for helping others, nothing could be more rewarding than embarking on a career in social care. The most important qualities you need are an interest in people and a respect for what makes them individuals. Your attitude and life experiences are usually far more important than formal qualifications in this very special line of work.

Seek out a speciality that interests you and suits your capabilities

  • Choose an area Decide whether you want to work with children and young people, the elderly, people with learning or physical difficulties, or people who use mental health services. You will also need to decide if you want to help people in their own homes, the community, residential and nursing homes, day care, supported housing, rehabilitation centres, and hospices.
  • Police check You’ll need to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check which is required by law to protect those vulnerable to abuse. Just fill in a form and send it off with identification documents.
  • Do your research For more help, visit www.socialcare or http://career pathways.skills

Photograph: Getty Images

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