Social care assistant jobs are set to rise between now and 2020 with more people applying for these vital roles than ever before. The National Careers Service indicates that “employers will usually consider experience to be more important than qualifications”, which means that this type of work is something to consider if you don’t have any formal post-secondary education.
Being a social work assistant is a very rewarding job as you will work alongside qualified social workers out in the community, helping and supporting people of different ages and from many different backgrounds, including families, people with disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health issues, the elderly and of course children.
The main part of your job will be to support social workers and other professionals in the work that they do and your job may take place in a variety of settings from a residential home to a hospital, a client’s personal home or a room in a community centre. As part of the job you will have certain tasks to complete such as:
• Helping to organise and implement programmes
• Contacting service users
• Setting up appointments
• Arranging services
• Informing service users of any suitable resources they can access
• Helping to work out a service user’s needs and creating or following a care plan
• Directing clients to appropriate groups or service provision
• Helping service users complete paperwork
• Following up visits after service users have received help
• Keeping records
• Writing reports
• Attending meetings with other agencies
• Liaising with other healthcare professionals
To be an effective social work assistant you will need to be able to communicate with people on all levels, from service users, colleagues and managers to representatives from other agencies and healthcare providers. You should have a practical approach to your work and be flexible and understanding to meet the needs of the job. If you can work as part of a team and can cope with difficult situations while remaining calm, patient and without being judgemental, then this could be a perfect role for you. It would also help if you were an organised individual with some computer or administrative skills. You should be able to use your own initiative, too.
If you would like to work as a social work assistant, you can expect to work around 37 hours per week and this may include shift work or unsociable hours. You can always start part time or do hourly work for an agency to see if you like it, before committing to a full time position. According to Input Youth you can expect salaries starting “around £16,000 a year. With experience and relevant qualifications, earnings can rise to between £18,000 and £22,000. Hourly rates for agency work can be between £8 and £14.”
Although you don’t need any formal qualifications for this role, once you have secured a job you will also receive training and development opportunities from your employer as it is a requirement that you are working towards “The Care Certificate” which according to Skills For Care is “an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life.” This certificate forms the basis of your career as a social work assistant, and will help you to understand your role and other important factors including safeguarding, equality and diversity, handling information and will also raise your awareness of some of the issues your service users may be dealing with. You may decide you would like to progress within your career and there are a number of opportunities including training to be a qualified social worker or moving into other related careers such as counselling, family support or community advice. To qualify to work in this sector you may need to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check which is a requirement for all who wish to work with vulnerable adults and children as it checks your criminal history and performs other background checks to assess your suitability for this type of role. Usually your employer will pay for the check to be carried out but you will need to provide correct information and identification.
If you feel you have the skills, qualities and experience required for social worker assistant jobs then you should check your local authority for vacancies or find job adverts in the local press or through various charities and recruitment agencies.