It is surely difficult to think of a career path that contributes more to society’s all-round physical and mental wellbeing than health and social care. The UK’s caring professions have always been crucial to ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens – including, but not limited to the elderly, people with mental or physical disabilities, and young people – are supported and well looked-after. This, in turn, helps those supported to live happier and healthier lives.
Working in this exceedingly wide-ranging sector, then, offers rewards that go well beyond the monetary. And with the UK population also being an ageing one, it is clear that well-qualified health and social care workers will remain in strong demand for generations to come.
But where does all of this leave the aspiring entrant into the health and social care sector? Well, you are likely to be left contemplating exactly how you can pursue a career in this varied field, and which routes to gaining qualifications and experience will best bolster your employability.
Why do apprenticeships make so much sense for entering health and social care?
All manner of different paths exist by which you may seek to build a career in health and social care. Understandably, you might be tempted by the thought of going to university, with the opportunity this presents to build theoretical knowledge that you could then apply to your career on graduation.
It is also important in this sector, however, to think of how you can gain work experience relevant to the role you have in mind – the likes of internships, work placements, and volunteering all being possibilities.
Or why not consider an underrated path that in many ways, combines the best things of academic study and vocational training? Yes, that’s right – we’re referring to health and social care apprenticeships, which enable you to truly ‘earn while you learn’.
Choosing the apprenticeship that best matches your desired role
Whether you already have in mind a specific occupation in health and social care – such as an adult care worker, inclusion officer, or midwife – or you are currently looking to keep your options open, there is likely to be an apprenticeship route that is well-matched to your needs.
One popular apprenticeship that we offer at TCHC at the time of typing, for instance, is the Level 2 Adult Care Worker path. This apprenticeship – which, if completed, leads to the award of a Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care – is an excellent one to consider if you feel you have the empathetic and caring traits needed to be successful as an adult care worker. It lasts for at least 12 months, and can be a stepping stone to promotion and further professional development.
Such continued professional development could be made possible by the Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship. As the name of this route indicates, it helps equip the apprentice with the ability to provide leadership, guidance and direction at the frontline of care delivery. This, in turn, can be imperative to improving the standard of support the worker provides to those in their care.
Adult care workers who are especially interested in taking on a future leadership role may then progress to the Leader in Adult Care apprenticeship at Level 5. This particular programme runs for a minimum of 18 months, and leads to the award of a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Adult Care.
Many people who complete the Level 5 apprenticeship then go on to undertake BA or BSc programmes and other university qualifications in fields like health, care and social work. In short, it is another apprenticeship that puts in place superb foundations for various health and social care careers.
What factors will determine my opportunities after my apprenticeship?
There is a certain difficulty in explaining exactly what career and further development opportunities may await a given health and social care apprentice, for the simple reason that no single apprentice’s path is exactly the same as the next. Much will depend on such factors as the level of apprenticeship undertaken, and the specific roles that may be offered by employers.
Nonetheless, to give just a few examples, Level 2/3 apprenticeships in this field often lead to such roles as healthcare assistant, domiciliary care worker, and community outreach worker. Meanwhile, apprentices at Level 4 or higher frequently go on to become midwifes, occupational therapists and even physiotherapists – again, citing just some of the many possibilities that might eventually open up for you.
If, then, you are serious about pursuing an enjoyable and rewarding career in health and social care, why not contact TCHC today? We can help you to become clear about the training and professional routes that would make particular sense for you.