Kick start careers in care at school

Dawn Constance Mulvaney, CACHE Alumni Editor

Careers in social care and early years education offer long term career prospects with opportunity for promotion and progression, as well as job security and, in today’s diverse economy, the caring sector is set to provide a huge amount of opportunity for learners who aspire to make a difference in the lives of others.

In fact, there’s never been a better time to support learners to explore careers in the caring sector, with adult social care and childcare both experiencing a ‘boom’ in vacancies fuelled by increasing lifespans, funded nursery places and a push towards more individualised care. 

Helping learners to explore career options can be tricky, as traditional careers advice is often set-up to support learners who wish to pursue roles with high salaries and defined career routes. Learners may not find out about the roles that they could aspire to until after their secondary school education is complete. 

We want students to thrive in their chosen profession and accessing and using the right resources, before they make decisions about their future, is a great way to make sure that they understand the broad range of careers available to them in the care sector. They’ll also develop an understanding of the behaviours, skills and knowledge they’ll need to evidence to achieve their career goals. 

Useful resources to explore

Using the career maps from CACHE, for health and social care and in early years can help to show learners the range of progression opportunities available across the caring sector. They’ll be able to explore a range of job titles and in more detail using the National Careers Service’s Job Profiles pages, which give a great overview of job roles, including information about salary expectations and entry routes.

Giving learners access to case studies, practitioner interviews and information about care and early years career routes and progression, such as those found on the free to join CACHE Alumni website during careers sessions, or asking learners to take Skills for Care’s ‘A Question of Care’ quiz as part of their careers exploration can be excellent ways of helping learners to explore opportunities and identify whether they’d fit well in a values-based role within care or childhood education.

The Level 2 Technical Award in Health and Social Care or Level 2 Technical Award in Child Development and Care from sector specialist CACHE, are qualifications which learners can access during their secondary and high school careers and which might be taken alongside other qualifications at the same time as GCSEs.  These qualifications give a broad and sufficiently in-depth base from which level 2 learners at key stage 4 can begin to make informed decisions concerning future career goals and aspirations.

If you’re still unsure about caring careers, inviting Skills for Care’s ‘I Care Ambassadors’ into the classroom may provide a free and immersive way of giving learners access to high quality speakers with real experiences and insight to share about careers in the care sector, covering the whole age spectrum.

If you’d like to help learners explore vacancies, the government’s recruitment site for care roles is easy to access and Tinies’ Inspiring a Future in Childcare campaign has some free, downloadable resources to help explore Early Years careers.

Allowing learners to develop their knowledge of the caring careers early will allow them to embed skills and knowledge and to develop a sound knowledge of the sector, care provision and the roles of different practitioners before moving into an apprenticeship or level 3 qualification with a firm idea of their future learning and experience needs.