Starting a social care career | Oxfordshire County Council

Starting a social care career

A career that you are guaranteed to find challenging and rewarding.

small boy holding adult male hand

By working in social care you will make a huge difference to people’s lives by contributing to their health, safety and wellbeing.

One thing is for sure, you will never be bored. This is a career that you are guaranteed to find challenging and rewarding.

What is social work and who will I work with?

The role of social work is to support and protect vulnerable children and adults, their families, carers and communities. The work focuses on helping individuals to maximise their potential within society.

Depending on your role, you will work with:

    • vulnerable adults or children
    • older people
    • people who have a disability
    • people who have a physical or mental illness
    • children who are looked after
    • children who have emotional or behavioural problems.

    What qualifications do I need?

    You may not need formal qualifications to start with. As you work, we will support you to develop new skills and will provide you with learning and development opportunities.

    If you are under 18 we advise you to complete an apprenticeship - this will ensure you have access to full training and have the opportunity to develop your skills gradually.

    You don’t have to have worked in a caring role to enter our workforce. However, most jobs will require you to have some experience of supporting people either through work experience, volunteering or caring within your own family.

    Where would I work?

    Social care can involve supporting people of any age in a variety of different places.

    You could work in a special needs school, residential or nursing home, extra care housing, community hospital or support people in their own homes.

    Social work training

    There are two qualification routes to becoming a social worker.

    Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Work

    This is either a three year full time or four year part time course undertaken at university. Entry requirements vary, but from 2013 all ask for a GCSE in Maths and English grade A-C.

    This is a generic qualification and applicants are expected to have some experience of direct work with adults or children. All students undertake two placements.

    The cost of the qualification varies and currently some universities have bursaries to assist people wishing to take the course.

    The Open University offers a BA in Social Work but students must be sponsored by their employer.

    Contact universities for their prospectus to compare courses, fees and entry requirements.

    Masters (MA) in Social Work

    This is usually a two year course, some of which can be taken part time. Students have a degree, usually in a related area and experience of direct work with adults and children.

    From 2013, all students must have a GCSE in Maths and English grade A-C.

    All students undertake two placements.

    The cost of the qualification varies and currently some universities have bursaries to assist people wishing to take the course.

    Contact universities for their prospectus to compare courses, fees and entry requirements.

    Step Up to Social Work

    Do you have a 2:1 degree in any subject and want to get into Social Work?  Then Step Up to Social Work could be for you.

    The Government has set out its aim to make social work a career many more people will aspire to and have the opportunity to join. It has invested more than £800 million in social worker training and improvement schemes, including teaching partnerships, bursaries and fast-track programmes. 

    If you’re successful in getting a place, you’ll join our fifth cohort of social work trainees. Your teaching will be provided by the University of Bedfordshire and will take place in Aylesbury and you will undertake two placements in Oxfordshire.

    For more information and to apply visit the GOV.UK website to apply

    You can also watch the Step Up clip 1 and Step Up clip 2.

    Online applications close on 5 May.

    Last reviewed
    19 September 2017
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