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If you’re thinking about working with children go for it! You don’t know what you’re missing and what a difference you can make.

Anthony Docherty
Child Development Officer

Working with children and young people

In this career you could be inspiring children in their early years, supporting their development through childhood and helping them thrive as young adults. Good communication, creativity, resilience and an understanding of how children and young people think and feel will help you succeed.

What's it like?

In early learning and childcare (including nurseries, crèches or childminding services) and out of school care you could provide care and educational experiences to children and help them to develop life skills.

There are opportunities to support the social, emotional and educational wellbeing of children and young people in other settings. This includes independent boarding schools, school hostels and residential special schools. In residential childcare you could support vulnerable children and young people who live in a care home, making sure they have the best opportunities to succeed in life.

You could also provide personalised support to children, young people and their families in their own homes

As a social service worker you would adhere to a professional Code of Practice and commit to continuous learning which could include gaining qualifications. This will help you develop in your career or even change direction. For example, some of your knowledge and skills will be transferrable to working with adults.

If you’re thinking about working with children go for it! You don’t know what you’re missing and what a difference you can make.

Anthony Docherty
Child Development Officer

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It can be so rewarding to support somebody to learn new skills or try new experiences. Equally I have learned a lot from the people I support.

John Duncanson
Senior Support Worker

Working with adults

In this career you can be a champion for the rights, strengths and diversity of adults and older people. You’ll need to be compassionate, committed, trustworthy and skilled. No two days will ever be the same and you can make a real difference to people’s lives.

What's it like?

Working with adults will give you opportunities to work across the community, for example in care homes, people's own homes and day care services.  Often known as adult social care, this career involves close partnership work with the NHS and other agencies.

The most important partnerships will be with the people you support. They will need your help to achieve the things that matter most in their lives. These things will be unique to each person but could include staying healthy, safe and fulfilling dreams or ambitions. Supporting people in this way is extremely rewarding.  

In this career you will need to be trustworthy and able to make good decisions in what are often challenging circumstances. Adhering to a professional Code of Practice and making a commitment to continuous professional learning will help you with this.

As you develop you will have opportunities to progress, gain qualifications and even change direction. For example skills in adult social care are often transferrable to working with children and young people.

It can be so rewarding to support somebody to learn new skills or try new experiences. Equally I have learned a lot from the people I support.

John Duncanson
Senior Support Worker

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Working with people is a real privilege. My social work qualification opened doors to a realm of real diversity.

Paula Brown
Social Worker

Social work

Social work is important and rewarding work, based on values like human rights, compassion and social justice. Social workers understand the impact of social problems, and can help people take control of their lives and reach their potential. They hold many important duties including safeguarding vulnerable people from harm.

What's it like?

Social workers provide advice, support, care and protection to children and young people, families, adults and older people. They work together with people they support to help them make positive choices and live their lives independently. This could include people with physical or mental health issues, addictions or experience of exploitation.

They work in a diverse range of settings including local authorities, independent and voluntary agencies and in communities. In criminal justice settings, social workers play an important role in promoting community safety by supervising and supporting people with convictions.

Social work is a complex activity and social workers need to be resilient and able to respond to complex and changing situations. They apply a range of knowledge, skills and ethical practice to achieve positive outcomes.

Social worker is a protected title, which means you must hold a relevant social work qualification before entering practice. You must also adhere to a professional Code of Practice.

Working with people is a real privilege. My social work qualification opened doors to a realm of real diversity.

Paula Brown
Social Worker

Career Paths

Get started

Click on the titles to find out more about our recommended qualifications including how they are linked to SSSC registration. Putting your mouse over a title will highlight others in the paths you can move on to.

 

Working with children and young people

If you want to work with children and young people you can start your learning at school, apply for a college course or apprenticeship, or find a job and gain your qualification at work.

If you want to work with children and young people you can start your learning at school, apply for a college course or apprenticeship, or find a job and gain your qualification at work.

6

level

  • Foundation Apprenticeship Social Services (Children and Young People)
  • SVQ Social Services (Children and Young People)
  • NC Early Education and Childcare

7

level

  • SVQ or Modern Apprenticeship Social Services (Children and Young People)
  • HNC Childhood Practice

8

level

9

level

  • SVQ or Technical Apprenticeship Social Services (Children and Young People)
  • Childhood Practice Award

10

level

  • SVQ or Professional Apprenticeship Care Services Leadership and Management

11

level

Working with adults

If you want to work with adults you can start your learning at school, apply for a college course or apprenticeship, or find a job and gain your qualification at work.

If you want to work with adults you can start your learning at school, apply for a college course or apprenticeship, or find a job and gain your qualification at work.

6

level

  • Foundation Apprenticeship Social Services and Healthcare
  • SVQ or Modern Apprenticeship Social Services and Healthcare

7

level

  • SVQ or Modern Apprenticeship Social Services and Healthcare
  • HNC Social Services
  • Professional Development Award Health and Social Care Supervision

8

level

9

level

  • SVQ or Technical Apprenticeship Social Services and Healthcare

10

level

  • SVQ or Professional Apprenticeship Care Services Leadership and Management

11

level

Social work

Social worker is a protected title so you must achieve one of these qualifications before working in this role.

Social worker is a protected title so you must achieve one of these qualifications before working in this role.

6

level

7

level

8

level

9

level

10

level

  • BA (Hons) Social Work

11

level

  • Social Work Post Graduate Award

Take the pathways with you.

Home Continuous Learning Decoration

Continuous professional learning

As well as completing qualifications, social service workers need to maintain and develop their knowledge, skills and values throughout their career. Social service employers must support this.

The SSSC Learning Zone can help you develop your knowledge about SVQs, leadership, dementia, childhood practice and more.

To see where else your career might take you, try exploring the qualifications at SQA Care or click on the specialist awards below.

Take the pathways with you.

Resources

Interested in a career? Our resources will help you prepare

Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers

If you’re thinking about applying for a job it’s important you know about the professional code of practice.

Download the codes

A Career in Social Services [a job like no other]

Get more information and practical advice from our careers booklet.

Download booklet
Questionnaire
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A Question Of Care

Remember, you don't usually need a qualification to start your career. Employers often hire people for their values and positive attitude.

Take our Question of Care challenge to see if you've got what it takes.

Take the challenge