Article: Health and Social Care


'Health and Social Care' looks at some of the jobs related to this subject that might interest you.


Qualifications in health and social care can help you to develop the understanding, knowledge and skills you need to work in a wide range of jobs in this area.

Depending on the level and type of qualification you take, you could be studying topics such as the development and care of children, health promotion, how the body works, and planning diets.

You could take a GCSE in health and social care or do an equivalent qualification such as a BTEC level 2 qualification or Cambridge National in heath and social care.

Following this, you might be able to enter a related job. Or, you could go on to take a further education qualification such as an A level in health and social care or Cambridge Technical in health and social care.

This could help you to take a relevant course at a university or college of higher education.

However, you must check university or college prospectuses to find out what the course entry requirements are and to see whether qualifications in health and social care are acceptable.

The world of work

There are very many careers in health and social care. In health care, there are people who work directly with patients, such as Nurses and Healthcare Assistants.

Others, such as Health Promotion Specialists, use their knowledge to educate and advise the public about health issues.

Some people, such as Nannies and Nursery Nurses, use their knowledge of the development and care of children.

Care Assistants provide basic care to people who need help and support with everyday tasks. They work in residential homes for children or older adults, special schools, day centres, people's own homes and non-emergency ambulance services.

Social Workers help, support and protect people who are vulnerable or at risk, or have social or emotional problems.

Social work

Social Workers help, support and protect people who are vulnerable or at risk, or have social or emotional problems. As far as possible, they help people to help themselves and not be reliant on professional support or intervention.

There are many different types of Social Worker, and their typical work activities depend on their employer and the area in which they work.

Entry is through a degree course in social work.

Field Social Worker

Field Social Workers visit clients in the community to offer advice, practical assistance and emotional support. They help people who are vulnerable or at risk, or have social, financial or emotional problems.

Many local authority social service departments have teams of Field Social Workers who specialise in particular issues, including child protection, people with mental health problems, older people and carers in the community.

Medical Social Worker

Medical Social Workers help people to cope when they are ill or are caring for sick friends or relatives.

They give advice and emotional support, and arrange care services to help people adjust to changes in their lives, caused by illness, problems related to old age, disability and bereavement, for example.

Most Medical Social Workers are usually employed in hospitals, but they can also work in healthcare centres, general practices and outpatient or special clinics.

They may discover that social problems, such as unemployment, poor housing or financial difficulties, have contributed to the client's illness. They give practical advice and arrange care services so that people can be safely discharged from hospital.

Social Worker - Mental Heath

Mental Health Social Workers give advice and practical support. They also arrange for people with mental health problems to be supported by services like day centres, home care assistants, supported accommodation and self-help schemes.

Social Workers in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) help children and young people who have mental health issues.

With further training, Mental Health Social Workers can become Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs).

AMHPs have the responsibility and legal power to arrange the compulsory admission of a person to hospital. This is a last resort, taken if the client's problems are so serious that they present a risk to the safety of themselves or others.

Residential Social Worker

Residential Social Workers provide practical and emotional support to residents in care homes and hostels. They work with children and young people, adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or mental health problems, or older people.

Social Workers provide residents with practical support, for example, helping them to claim social security benefits, plan a budget, pay bills and keep in touch with family and friends.

Social Workers also plan and run group activities, to help residents relate to one another and maintain or develop their social skills.

They also arrange any support services that the residents need, for example, counselling, group therapy sessions, legal advice or treatment for a drug or alcohol dependency.

Advice and education

Personal Adviser

Personal Advisers are part of the Connexions service, which aims to provide people aged 13-19 with the information, advice and practical help they need to reach their goals. Personal Advisers work mainly in schools, colleges or drop-in centres.

Different Personal Advisers have expertise in different areas. Many have previously worked as Careers Advisers and they have expert knowledge in this area. Others have had a background in youth work or social care, for example, and their expertise has a broader range.

As well as working with young people, Personal Advisers liaise with parents/carers, voluntary and community organisations and other professionals who have an interest in the welfare of young people.

Fully qualified Personal Advisers have a relevant professional qualification.

Health Promotion Practitioner

Health Promotion Practitioners educate people of all ages about how to have a healthier lifestyle. They research local health issues, plan campaigns to promote particular messages about health issues, and evaluate the results.

If they have found, for example, that heart disease is a particular problem in a local area, a Health Promotion Practitioner might organise a campaign, encouraging people to eat less fatty food and start getting regular exercise.

The practitioner would start by deciding which form the campaign should take (for example, fun runs or sponsored swimming) and would then advertise the campaign by producing posters, web pages and leaflets, and contacting local newspapers.

They give talks to groups, for example, in schools and the community, about health issues. They also work with other health professionals such as Doctors, Physiotherapists and Midwives to jointly promote health education.

Health Promotion Practitioners are usually graduates. Relevant degree subjects include health promotion, social sciences, food science and nutrition, and biological science.

Entry is also possible with a professional qualification, for example, in nursing, teaching, social work or medicine.

Social care

Social Care Workers enable people to cope with day-to-day life, supporting them to reach solutions to the problems they face. For example, they work with older people, children and disabled people, in settings such as residential care homes and clients' own homes. In this work, building close, trusting relationships with clients is very important.

Care Assistant

Care Assistants provide basic care to people who need help and support with everyday tasks.

The exact type of care they provide depends on the abilities of the people they look after. Basic care could mean helping someone to wash or dress, feed themselves, go the toilet or generally get about.

Some Care Assistants work with children and young people. They provide basic care, as well as befriending children, providing recreational activities and encouraging children to learn and develop.

Care Assistants sometimes supervise children and young people on outdoor activities or visits.

Other Care Assistants work with older people, for example, in day centres or residential homes. Again, they provide basic care depending on the needs of the individual.

Social care is also very important, and Assistants often develop trust and friendship with the people they work with. They help residents to make friends and keep in touch with their families.

Planning and supervising social activities and trips is an important part of some Care Assistants' work.

Some Care Assistants work with disabled people. Apart from basic care tasks such as washing and dressing clients, Care Assistants encourage learning and development, perhaps by helping with classes that teach social skills.

You don't always need qualifications, but employers like you to have some relevant experience.

Home Care Assistant

Home Care Assistants work with people who need help and support in their own home. This could be because of physical or mental illness, a physical disability or learning difficulty.

They help people to do day-to-day tasks like washing, getting dressed and preparing meals. They also give social and emotional care.

The aim is for the client to keep as much independence and quality of life as they can.

You don't always need qualifications, but employers like you to have some relevant experience.

Child care

It's not enough just to like babies and young children to have a job in child care. You need to have some understanding of how children learn and develop, eg, through stimulating toys and play activities, and be committed to encouraging this process.

You also need to be patient, have lots of creative ideas - and the energy to put them into practice - and have a mature, responsible attitude.


Nannies work with children in private homes, usually when the children's parents (or lone parent or guardian) are away at work. Nannies provide care for the children and encourage their social, emotional and educational development.

Their duties vary depending on the age and number of children they care for. Nannies who look after babies and very young children are responsible for dressing, feeding and changing them.

They may take older children to school in the morning and collect them in the afternoon.

Nannies also plan and supervise play and work activities to encourage the children's learning and development.

Although there are no formal academic entry requirements to become a Nanny, most employers prefer applicants who have a relevant childcare qualification.

Nursery Nurse

Nursery Nurses work with children, usually aged from birth up to eight years old. They care for the children and use their knowledge of child development to promote their learning and development.

Nursery Nurses work in a variety of settings including local authority and privately run nurseries, and in nursery, infant and specialist schools.

They are responsible for supervising and helping children with activities such as reading, number work, cooking, artwork and using a computer. They encourage the children's concentration, creativity, ability to solve problems and general sense of discovery.

Nursery Nurses who hold a qualification like the CACHE Diploma in child care and education or the BTEC National Diploma in children's care, learning and development may work in childcare centres in an unsupervised role.


Childminders look after children and babies when their parents go to work. As well as providing basic care with practical tasks, such as washing, getting dressed and eating meals, Childminders encourage children's social and educational development. They provide a safe, stimulating environment for the children to learn and play in.

With babies and younger children, childminders are responsible for basic care, such as changing nappies and clothes, and preparing meals. They must pay strict attention to hygiene, when making up bottles for babies, for example. They feed or help young children at meal times.

No formal education requirements are needed for entry. However, Childminders who care for children under eight must register with Ofsted and complete a pre-registration course.

Further Information

Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE)

Address: Apex House, 81 Camp Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 5GB

Tel: 0845 3472123



Skills for Care & Development (SfC&D)

Skills for social work, social care and children's services

Address: 2nd floor, Westgate, 6 Grace Street, Leeds LS1 2RP

Tel: 0113 2411240



The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY)

Address: Royal Court, 81 Tweedy Road, Bromley, Kent BR1 1TG

Tel: 0845 8800044



National Children's Bureau (NCB)

Address: 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE

Tel: 020 7843 6000



Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Address: Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU

Tel: 0845 3006184



Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith


Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language