Social care

Social care is a challenging and rewarding career. Social care workers provide support and help to people who need it, helping them to live full and valued lives in the community. Social care workers can work with a variety of people from all different backgrounds and of all abilities. They work closely with other professionals such as community nursing staff, workers from other local authority departments and the police. Social care services can be privately owned or run by the local authority or voluntary sector.

Social care involves working with lots of different people who use social services:

  • older people
  • children and young people
  • carers of people who use services
  • children or adults with physical and/or learning disabilities
  • people with mental health problems
  • people with addiction issues
  • homeless people
  • refugees and asylum seekers
  • people with HIV/AIDS or long-term illness.

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.

Social care workers help people who use services with personal care, including assistance with washing and dressing, provision of meals and administration of medication.


The salary of a social care worker can vary depending on the type of service, position held and the qualifications the worker holds. Salaries in social care can start from around £11k. If you have social care qualifications and experience then your starting salary may be higher than this. A qualified social care worker working in a short break service can expect to earn around £17k – £21k. A qualified unit manager for a care home service for adults with several years’ experience can expect to earn around £25k – £32k.

Got a question?

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