For an overview on how the two pathways differ and what each potential career can offer, check out our clinical health course with NHS industry placements.
Working in social care
What is social care? Social care is providing physical, emotional and social support to help people live their lives to the fullest. For various reasons, and at different stages in their lives, some people will need support to develop and maintain their independence, dignity and control. Social care provides a whole range of services to support adults and older people.
You could help people in their own homes, in residential homes, or in a number of other places such as day centres or supported housing. You’ll support people with their non-clinical needs, although there is an important crossover between working in clinical health and working in social care.
Because of the increasing number of disabled younger adults living longer and the growing number of older people needing care, adult social care is growing and the sector needs at least another half a million jobs, and people to do them, by 2030.
The social care pathway
Enter the field of health and social care with the practical, work-related, Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care with an Industry Placement in a social care setting. The placement is for two days a week with a local employer.
This programme is a mix of college-based study, training in simulated environments, some mandatory training at the start of your placement, work experience in your first year and a two day per week social care industry placement in your second year.
Many students secured jobs with good prospects through these placements.
Examples of the roles you could progress to are:
- care worker
- personal assistant
- social worker
- community support and outreach worker
- supervisors and managers
- occupational therapist
- activities coordinator
- Specialist coordinator, such as dementia or end of life care coordinator
Click on the job titles above for more information on the roles, or for other careers in social care, visit the Skills for Care website.
What you'll learn
Get a broad introduction to the field of health and social care through projects and assignments based on realistic workplace situations and supervised work experience.
At the end of the course, you may decide to go directly into work or you could enter higher education. Possible careers include social work, social-care work, care management, occupational therapy or other professions related to social care.
Throughout this course you will learn the necessary knowledge and skills needed to be successful in a career in the social care sector. You will learn about the various care settings, as well as get a chance to apply all you’ve learnt during the course into a practical setting during your work experience.
How you'll learn and be assessed
This is a two-year programme that includes a minimum of 45 days industry placement.
The purpose of these placements is two fold:
- You gain practical, real-life experience of working in your desired profession and gain practical, hands-on knowledge to help you graduate from the programme
- You build relationships with potential colleagues and employers; it helps you get your foot in the door at your desired workplace
All units are internally assessed and graded. A selected sample are externally assessed and an overall grade for the qualification is awarded at the end of the course.
You learn by completing projects and assignments that are based on realistic workplace situations and activities.
Work placements in health and care settings are essential to the course and provide valuable links between theory and practice.
Five GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, including English language and maths or a Merit at Vocational Level 2 in a related subject, including English language and maths.
Positive references and a clear Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required for all Health and Social Care courses.