Children and young people

A career working with children and young people can involve working in a play group, out of school care service, nursery, creche setting or a residential child care service.  Workers provide support to children and young people, in partnership with parents and carers helping them to live full and valued lives.  They work with a variety of people from all different backgrounds and of all abilities and can work closely with other professionals such as teachers, police and other local authority departments.  Children and young people services can be privately owned, run by the local authority or voluntary sector.

Working with children and young people involves communicating and contact with lots of different people who use service including:

  • children and young people
  • carers of people with physical and/or learning disabilities
  • people with mental health problems
  • people with addiction issues.

What's involved?

Children and young people who use residential child care services live in a home or visit for respite where they receive care and support.  Staff help children and young people using the services in their daily lives promoting and encouraging independence wherever possible.  A residential child care worker's role includes supporting children and young people who have experienced traumatic events in their lives and helping them by giving emotional support, encouraging and supporting them to be the best they can.

Workers in childhood practice provide care and education to children, helping them to learn and develop a range of skills they'll use throughout their life through play.  They can work with children from birth, from all backgrounds and of all abilities.  Workers observe, assess and record children's development and progress, so they need to have the ability to write reports.  They are also involved in supporting the development of children's literacy and numeracy skills.  This means workers need to be good listeners and have good levels of communication.  There is a high demand for workers in this area with many parents relying on child care.

If you would like a career in social care, getting some experience of working in the sector is a good place to start. Experience, whether paid or unpaid will enhance your prospects and give you an opportunity to find out if you would enjoy the job. Visit our volunteering page for more information.

You can begin your career in social care without any formal qualifications, but you must be willing to gain them while you work.


Salaries vary depending on the position, qualifications the worker holds and whether the service is run by a voluntary organisation, a local authority or is privately owned.  A nursery practitioner can earn between £11k and £15k a year. Senior posts such as a nursery manager position can earn up to £26k annually.  Workers in residential child care services can earn between £17k and £21k a year.  Starting salaries for residential child care managers are around £21k moving up to around £25k after gaining experience.

Our Learning Zone website has information on job roles and areas of employment.