Breaking misconceptions about a career in Social Care

6 min read | Ciara Redmond | Article | Job searching | Market trends

career in Social Care

The social care sector has long been clouded by stigmas and misconceptions, but often these are a far cry from the reality of working in this field. It’s important to acknowledge that there are vast advantages to be had with a career in social care – it can be an incredibly rewarding path, and one that makes a great impact on society, where you will be in a supportive environment surrounded by likeminded passionate staff members.

So, in a sector that is in dire need of staff in order to continue doing such valuable work, we debunk some common misconceptions about jobs in social care.

No day is the same

There’s often a perception that a career in social care is all about providing personal care, but in reality, there is so much more to this line of work. We spoke to Amy Flynn, Area Services Manager at Camphill Communities of Ireland, as part of our Social Care Stories video series, who gave insight into how varied her place of work is:

“On-site we have weaving workshops, we have candle workshops, we have pottery workshops, and arts and crafts. We have our farm, we have our garden, we have horticulture and – depending on their interests or preference – we have external services as well, including horse riding and the gym.” Assisting someone with all aspects of their everyday life means it will be unlikely that each day is the same.

Wide array of options and opportunities for career progression

Unbeknownst to some, there’s a massive variety of roles within social care and many different paths you can explore – whether that be regulated professional roles, indirect care opportunities, or direct care jobs, such as Care Assistants, Support Worker, Project Worker, Person in Charge, Team leader, and more. There are plenty of opportunities for movement to other specialisms once you are in the social care space, along with ample prospects for progression.

Amy points out that often people are under the impression that social care workers “work 24 hour shifts and you’re gone all weekend… you hear a lot about [people’s] areas of concern [and them saying] I don’t know how you do what you do.” That’s not to say there aren’t social care workers who do work incredibly long shifts and weekends, but not every role will be like this.

In fact, a recent study found that the most common shift length for social care workers was 8 hours (39.5%). Amy explains: “new graduates in social care don't realise the massive opportunities.” There’s such a vast range of areas within social care that you can work in, such as disability, mainstream, homelessness, addiction, domestic violence, refugee services, children and young adult services, and elderly care. You would be working these roles in a variety of settings, such as in residential services or day services, respite services, and more.

You can dramatically improve lives

Sometimes, people don’t realise just how significant an impact the work of social care workers can have on the quality of life of the vulnerable and those in need of assistance. Amy, along with many others in the social care profession, finds it exceptionally rewarding to help people in this way and improve their quality of life, as she explains: “I always really got a good sense of satisfaction out of helping and making a difference.”

Having social care can be truly life-changing for in-need individuals, providing them as it does with vital emotional, physical, and social support, so if you are an empathetic and caring person who enjoys helping others, then this could be a highly fulfilling career choice for you. It can be life-changing for not only the service user, but also for yourself.

The industry needs you

Our latest Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends guide found that – as a result of continual staff shortages – candidates are the ones with the power in this sector, with competition amongst employers meaning employees currently have more negotiating power. Unfortunately, this also means the wait times for people needing support could be longer if there’s not an adequate number of staff prepared to work in the field. Looking into a career in social care could give you the opportunity to make a genuine impact on someone’s life, and provide the valuable care that many in-need individuals are waiting for.

For more insight into what a career in social care would look like, take a look at our Social Care Stories video series.


About this author

Ciara Redmond

Senior Recruitment Consultant with Hays- Social Care

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