Q & Angel: Top Tips to Get into Social Care

Welcome to Q & Angel, our weekly whistlestop tour around the minds of our Angel team, clients and candidates.

In just 10 questions, we aim to give you a sneak peek into the world of recruitment, whether via a career theme, industry-focused insights or some Angel wisdom.

This week our specialist Care consultants give us the lowdown on getting a job in this challenging but rewarding sector:

1.Social Care often gets a bad rap in the press, so what makes it as an attractive career option?

Yes, while the press concentrate on industry failings a recent survey found 91% of service users are satisfied with the help they get. YouGov estimates 1 in 3 people have contact with social care, so this is feedback most companies would be proud of!

Plus, 96% of care workers, themselves, say they feel their work makes a difference.

I know care work really does transform lives. Yes, for service users. But, also for care workers because, apart from satisfaction, it also offers a flexible work option in sense of hours and with regards to entry.

2.What are the key issues facing the sector?

Over the last decades the UK has experienced rapid social and technological change. About 1.4 million people work in social care, but people are living longer with more complex needs. The sector is having to address these issues.

One thing’s for sure: more staff are needed to ensure a quality care service. Good news for potential candidates, right!?

3.What sort of roles are available?

Social care covers a range of needs: from supporting troubled families at home, to helping vulnerable people with learning difficulties navigating the trials and tribulations of living independently, to ensuring an 85 year old living with dementia in a care home gets the assistance she needs.

So, the types of jobs available, are just as broad. You could be an Activities Coordinator in a day care centre; you might be offering advice or guidance; a Care Worker working in the community; you could be a Registered Nurse; you might be working in management or providing administrative support…

It all comes down to helping people live as independently and safely as possible.

4.What key skills are employers looking for?

Qualifications and work experience are essential for some roles. But, most employers are really looking for people with the right values and attitudes.

To be successful you’ll need be: empathic; and a great listener. You must be non-judgemental. In fact, communication skills are key, because you’ll need to work well with both clients and professionals; and keep accurate records.

You’ll be expected to remain calm under pressure and take the initiative. You must understand and follow policies & procedures and be able to apply guidelines appropriately with a range of people in a variety of circumstances. Websites, like Skills for Care has more information.

5.What kind of candidates does the sector want?

There are opportunities at every level for those wanting to gain entry to care. From college-leavers and graduates – who might join through training schemes – to career changers who have other experience to bring, like management capabilities, perhaps.

And, of course people returning to work. This is a particularly good profession for mums wanting flexible work or those with personal care experience – you know, people who’ve cared for a relative or friend.

6.How can people get a glimpse into social care?

Volunteering is a great way to get an idea of the type of roles available and to get experience. Your local volunteer bureau will be able to help. Or you could try sites like Do-it.org.

Temping in admin roles can also be useful – and paid! Working for councils or other service providers can provide invaluable insights. Signing up with an agency, like Angel, can provide access to the temping roles that could provide those essential stepping stones.

7.Any qualifications it’s advisable to get under your belt?

The care industry is regulated by the CQC – the Care Quality Commission – which requires carers to have four basic training modules: moving and handling; first aid; food hygiene; and safeguarding. Although many providers hire staff with additional training or provide in-house training.

Some roles, like social workers, require a relevant degree, approved by the HCPC. And, anyone working with vulnerable people must pass background checks by the DBS – Disclosure & Barring Service. While here at Angel we take on appropriate candidates and train them on the job, for some entry roles – so you earn as you learn!

8.Where can candidates find jobs?

Vacancies occur all year round in care. Turnover can be high, in some areas, meaning there are always opportunities.

Many care roles need to be filled ASAP, so have your CV ready! Or, even better, sign up with an agency, so you’ll be the first to hear about vacancies. Many places don’t have time to advertise widely so being with an agency will definitely give you the edge.

9.What else can an agency do for care candidates?

Well, our consultants are all industry-experienced. That’s not always the case. Sometimes you can join an agency and your agent won’t know the ins and outs of the industry or have any market know-how.

Our consultants not only have extensive experience, but we work 24/7 providing support to our clients and candidates, if and when they need it!

10.What do you love most about your job?

Just as our candidates need to be passionate about the quality of service they provide, our team is passionate about the service we provide.

We deal directly with service users and service providers, sometimes jobs need filling fast, sometimes we deal with emergency situations. It’s humbling, really, being able to help provide a solution to people’s needs.

That’s why I love my job and why Angel Care are dedicated to finding great candidates and supporting them in making a success of their care career.

Now over to you:

Have any thoughts on what you’ve read? Got any burning questions we could put to future Q & Angel guests? As ever, we want to hear what you’ve got to say!

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