Social Care Work FAQ
Training & Qualifications
Pay & conditions
What is Social Care?
Social care staff work with people who, for all sorts of reasons, need support to carry out their daily lives.
Many social care workers work in residential homes or in people's own homes, working particularly with older people, people with disabilities or with children. However there is also a huge range of other work, including working with families, or work with adults, who may be physically disabled or have social or family difficulties.
What kind of careers are available in Social Care?
There is a huge range of possible careers in social care. Social care workers work with people, in a number of different settings, from Children's Homes to people's own homes. There are also many different types and levels of work. Social care workers are not required to have specific qualifications, however, staff are usually expected to obtain a relevant qualification for the work that they are undertaking and there is a qualifications framework for those staff who wish to make a career in social care, and undertake training to become either a care manager or a social worker. You can also train to become a health worker or a nurse by starting and gaining valuable experience in social care.
In Staffordshire there are excellent opportunities for staff in social care and we will provide you with the necessary support and training throughout your career.
Is there a minimum age before I can begin work in Social Care?
It is possible to work in some areas of social care from the age of 16, in supervised posts. In other areas workers/trainees have to be over 18 years of age. The regulatory body - the Care Quality Commission - ensures national minimum standards which are used to regulate service provision in several areas of social care. These national minimum standards lay down requirements in relation to the employment and supervision of young people.
Do I need any qualifications before I start?
No. Most social care jobs do not require you to have any qualifications or training before you start. However, by the nature of the work involved, if you have a variety of life, work and personal experiences that enable you to deal with a variety of difficult situations, this would be beneficial.
When you begin working in social care you will be given induction training to ensure that you know how to do your job properly and safely. This will be followed by other relevant training, which will extend your skills and experience and you may then work towards the relevant National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).
In Staffordshire we provide excellent induction, foundation and a full range of in house training opportunities. Our Staff Development Centre is an Assessment Centre for a range of NVQ's, including NVQ's in Care and we will provide you with the necessary support to achieve the necessary qualifications.
Are there any checks I need to go through before becoming employed?
Social care workers work with people who are potentially vulnerable or physically frail and therefore need to be of the highest calibre and integrity to do this worthwhile work. All applicants for such social care jobs must therefore undergo pre-employment checks, which include requesting a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Disclosure and the taking up of references. For those planning to work in regulated child care positions with children under the age of 18, employers will apply for a check against the Protection of Children Act (PoCA) list as part of the CRB Disclosure. For those planning to work with vulnerable adults in care positions in registered care homes, home care or domiciliary care agencies employers will apply for a check against the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) list.
What are National Vocational Qualifications?
A National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), or a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Scotland, is a work based qualification recognised throughout the UK. NVQs are evidence that you are competent in the work that you do. They are set at different levels dependent on the level of skills and responsibility including:
NVQs in Care at levels 2, 3 and 4
NVQs in Caring for Children and Young People at level 3
NVQs in Promoting Independence at level 3
You don't have to take exams; a trained assessor will join you at work to assess your abilities in various areas.
In Staffordshire we provide excellent NVQ opportunities through our Staff Development Centre, which is an accredited Assessment Centre for a range of NVQ's including NVQ's in Care.
What would they do for me?
NVQs show that you are competent at doing your job. As with all qualifications, there is no guarantee that NVQs will get you the job, but they will show prospective employers what skills and knowledge you have and what you can do. You will also know that your skills have been recognised and rewarded.
Are they open to anybody?
An NVQ in care is open to anybody working as a social care worker (whether full-time, part-time - paid or voluntary). Someone will assess you while you're working. This means that although you don't have to be in full-time work, you will have to arrange to be assessed in a work situation.
How much will it cost?
For up to date information regarding registration fees and details of the range of awards available contact the awarding body you intend to use. Some employers pay for staff to undertake NVQ's and funding for the completion of NVQs is also available through the Learning and Skills Councils.
In Staffordshire we have excellent training and development opportunities and support staff to complete the relevant NVQ and other relevant training.
Who are the main Awarding Bodies?
City & Guilds Affinity - Tel: 020 7294 8007 or visit their website at
CACHE - Tel: 0845 347 2123 or visit their website at http://www.cache.org.uk/
Edexcel - Tel: 020 7393 4500 or visit their website at http://www.edexcel.org.uk/
SQA - Tel: 0141 248 7900 or visit their website at http://www.sqa.org.uk/
What is the pay like?
Your pay will depend on what work you are doing, who you are working for, and whereabouts in the country you are working. The most recent information can be found within individual job descriptions on applying for positions.
Would I be able to work flexible hours?
Many jobs in social care - particularly residential care - need people who can work flexible hours hence it may be possible for you to work part time, or work particular times, to fit with your own commitments.
What other benefits are there?
Individual employers offer a range of benefits. In Staffordshire we offer an excellent benefits package including:
Excellent induction and foundation training
Professional support & supervision
Regular consultation and communication
Family friendly policies
Staff recognition scheme
Generous annual leave
Green travel policy
Final salary pension scheme
Other locally and nationally negotiated staff benefits
Do social care workers have union membership?
Many social care workers are members of a Union. In Staffordshire we work closely with professional associations and trade unions locally. We have a strong system of joint consultation and involve the associations in wide areas of decision-taking. The County Council actively encourages all its employees to join an appropriate association or trade union.