Jobs and Careers Autumn 2017 - 102
WORKING IN THE CARE INDUSTRY CAN BE
EXTREMELY REWARDING, BUT WHAT DOES IT
INVOLVE AND WHAT CAN IT OFFER YOU?
he UK's care sector
is big business.
employs 1.5 million
people and it is
by 2025 another
1 million workers will be needed to
meet growing social care demands.
Areas include care for older
people, those with disabilities, those
with special needs, young people
in crisis, and those with long-term
conditions and terminal illnesses. This
means caring is a sustainable career
option, even in times of austerity,
job cuts and high unemployment.
TYPES OF CARE
Many carers in the UK are informal
- a family member looking after a
relative. Formal care is split into two
areas: independent or NHS-funded
care provided in people's homes, and
care homes giving specialised support.
The former may include helping
elderly and/or disabled people to live
independently in their own homes,
taking people out for social events and
providing informal carers with a break.
Working in a care home may include
shifts providing care for disabled
and/or elderly people in a home,
sometimes alongside qualiﬁed nurses.
Whichever avenue you choose,
there are good long-term career
prospects if you work hard and have
the right attitude. The work is varied
- you'll ﬁnd that no two days are
ever the same - and hours are often
ﬂexible. There are plenty of part-time
positions available, allowing you to
ﬁt work around other commitments.
Whether you're a school leaver, a
graduate or are looking for a change of
career, social care is a job unlike any
other. It doesn't discriminate on your
age, qualiﬁcations or background. All
that matters is that you have a kind,
caring nature, and you want to share
that with people who really need it.
Looking after the older generation
is a boom industry that will grow.
According to the NHS, the number of
people aged 65 and over is projected
to increase from 10.84 million in
2012 to 17.79 million by 2037; the
number of over-85s is estimated to
more than double, from 1.44 million
in 2012 to 3.64 million by 2037.
Homes for older people fall roughly
into two categories: those providing
personal care and those providing
nursing care. Care (or residential)
homes oﬀer living accommodation,
which includes a room (often en suite),
meals and help with personal care,
such as washing, dressing, going to
the toilet and taking medication. Staﬀ
will give care during normal short
illnesses, but don't provide full nursing
care. In some homes, able residents
have more independence and take
care of many of their own needs.
Nursing homes oﬀer all of the
above, with the addition of medical
CAN I EARN?
Starting salaries are close to the
national minimum wage, although
you'll get more for shift work. As a
care assistant you can expect to
start on around £12,500 a year,
but this rises significantly for
jobs with more responsibility.
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