If you’re looking at A-Level or degree choices, then one of the things on your mind must be your future career. It’s difficult to take such dramatic, long term decisions in the early part of your life, but if one of the things you want is a job that you can feel is worthwhile – that leaves that world better than you found it in the morning, then a social care job is worth considering.
It’s also something you might want to consider if the career you’ve established yourself in isn’t proving as rewarding as you’d hoped. Training is equally available to those just looking at degrees for the first time and people looking to change horses mid-stream. Social workers are in demand, and there are schemes aimed at inducting people into the profession at almost every stage in their career.
Today we’re looking at the training options for people looking to get into social care so that, if you are one of their number, you can make an informed choice.
You’re best placed to enter social work through an undergraduate degree. This gives you access not merely to training, but also the full university experience: a chance to learn with, mix with, and play with a broad range of people as well as access to the same favourable funding system of loans and bursaries.
If you’ve already completed an undergraduate degree then you do have the option of postgraduate courses – you’ll need either a degree or relevant experience to qualify, you might need to take on some volunteer work or preparatory courses if you’re interested. As with all postgraduate programmes, funding options tend to be more limited, but look into what is offered by your local authority and you may be surprised.
The most important thing you need to do is make sure the institutions you’re weighing up are endorsed by the HCPC. If your course isn’t one approved by the Health and Care Professions Council it doesn’t qualify you to practice as a social worker!
Later in Life
If you’re looking to make a change from a career you’ve already established, you may not have the time or resources necessary to commit to a university training programme. Fortunately the government offers an intensive training programme called Step Up to Social Work which can equip you with the necessary skills and experience within only 14 months.
You will need an honours degree qualification at 2:1 or better in any subject but social work as your basic qualification. You’ll also need to demonstrate some basic understanding of the principles of social work, and at least six months experience working with children, young people or family in either a voluntary or paid capacity. Donating your time to charity could be a good to way gain some practical experience, and ensure you fulfil these requirements!