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A career in social care or early years and childcare

We have information and advice to help you find the right career in social care or early years and childcare.

A career in social care

Social care is about providing care and support to people so they can live their lives as independently as possible.

Why choose social care?

The demand for social care workers is growing. We need people who have the right values, skills and knowledge to provide high quality care and support.

  • There are job opportunities for everyone of all ages.
  • You could work full-time or part-time depending on your circumstances.
  • It can involve supporting people with needs such as dementia, sensory loss or learning disabilities.
  • You could work in a care home, the community or by supporting people in their own homes.
  • There are many exciting and challenging job opportunities to choose from.

As well as meeting people’s needs, working in social care is a very rewarding career where you make a real difference to the lives of others.

A career in early years and childcare

Early years and childcare practitioners play a vital role in helping children from birth to school age reach their full potential by encouraging their development.

Why choose early years and childcare?

With Government initiatives making early years and childcare provision more accessible, there is an increasing demand for workers with the right values and skills who can provide a high-quality service to children, their families and carers.

Working with children can offer a career with fun, enjoyment and job satisfaction. Your contribution to their development can help them get the best possible start possible start in life.

Other benefits include:
  • job opportunities for people of all ages
  • working full-time or part-time depending on your circumstances
  • working closely with children of all backgrounds and abilities, helping them develop skills that they’ll use throughout their life.
You could work in :
  • a day nursery
  • a playgroup
  • a cylch meithrin
  • an integrated children’s centre
  • your own home as a child-minder.

How to get started and find work

You don’t need qualifications or previous experience to work in social care or early years. Many jobs give you the option to train at work, so why not use your existing skills and experiences to follow a new career.

You are expected to update your knowledge, skills and competence regularly and you will be encouraged to gain a Level 2 or Level 3 diploma while working. These diplomas are the only qualifications that give you the skills and knowledge you need to work in social care.

Find out more about social care qualifications.

There are different ways to find work, gain experience and get a better understanding of what working in care is really like. 

Why not try:

  • speaking to a job coach at Job Centre Plus
  • becoming an apprentice
  • contacting a social care or early years and childcare employer in your area
  • volunteering
  • applying for a work experience placement.

Are you right for a career in social care or early years and childcare?

Your values and attitude are important for this kind of work. 

If you’re still not sure if this type of work is right for you, why not try our interactive video challenge to see what a career in care or early years and childcare is like. At the end of the challenge, you'll be given a detailed personal profile that tells you if you’ve got what it takes.

Go on, have a go!

Careers information and help

There are specific qualifications needed and recommended to work in social care and early years and childcare. More information about the qualifications and other supporting documents can be found on the qualification pages along with supporting information.

There are lots of ways in which you can improve your knowledge to further develop your career. Take a look at our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) page for further information.

Your local Job Centre Plus will be able to provide further support and guidance on finding and applying for jobs.

If you are still in education, then speak to your careers adviser who will give you more information and advice on getting started.

Good luck!

Last updated: 15 June 2017

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