20 socially beneficial careers for your child

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We live in an age of multiple crises, with great change and transformation on the horizon. From Covid-19 to the even greater threat of climate breakdown, from automation to demographic ageing – rarely have we faced such profound threats and challenges.

This may sound scary. But for your child and their career, the future presents many opportunities for them to make people’s lives better and bring positive change to our society.

In this article, we list some of the key sectors where your child can make a difference plus some of the career paths they can pursue. Follow the links for more information about how your child can begin their journey.

'Here are 20 socially beneficial roles your child could do'

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Education

Community education coordinator – Usually working in areas of high unemployment or poverty, community education coordinators help people who may have missed out on school, finding opportunities for them to learn in their local community. They organise courses and training, work alongside community groups and find tutors and training volunteers to work with service users.

Skills needed: Patience, people skills, teamwork

Nursery teacher

EYTs encourage children to use materials and

resources to explore and learn about the world

Early years teacher: "EYTs" work with children up to 5 years of age in preschool or in the reception year of primary school. EYTs encourage children to use materials and resources to explore and learn about the world around them as well as developing their social and communication skills ready for school. EYTs also maintain records about children’s development and ensure any special educational needs are picked up at an early stage in a child’s education.

Skills needed: Communication, creativity, observation skills

Pastoral support worker: Pastoral support workers provide help, support and information to students within school. They also work closely with teachers and parents or carers. Areas pastoral support workers cover include behaviour management, emotional help, conflict resolution and work experience. Many schools have a dedicated pastoral support worker.

Skills needed: Listening, organisation, problem-solving

Teacher: Teachers provide education in primary schools, secondary schools and colleges. They prepare and deliver lessons, mark students’ work, set tests, create resources for themselves and their colleagues and provide tailored support to students. Some teacher provide education to adults in adult education settings such as community colleges and technical colleges.

Skills needed: Communication, organisation, presentation

Teaching assistant: Teaching assistants – also known as classroom assistants or learning support assistants – work in primary and secondary school, providing one-to-one support for students with special educational needs. This enables the teacher to focus on teaching the class, while ensuring that students who would otherwise struggle are getting the support they need.

Skills needed: Communication, patience, people skills

More resources:

Environment

Climatologist: Climatologists monitor patterns in the global or regional climate to understand long-term trends in the way the Earth’s weather patterns are changing. It is an essential job as the climate emergency escalates, helping us understand the scale, specific impacts and effects of climate change. This will help us predict what weather and climate events are likely to occur in different parts of the world and how to adapt to them, as well as giving us information about the scale and urgency of the crisis to influence policymaking.

Skills: Analytical skills, attention-to-detail, problem-solving

Peat bog

Peatland restoration officers help preserve this vital

carbon sink, essential in the fight against climate change

Environmental scientist: Environmental scientists study the environment and how plants, animals and humans are affected by it. Their research helps them give advice on what might be harming the environment and how to tackle it. They collect data through surveys and samples and carry out analysis in the lab before preparing written reports. This means they may spend time across a number of work settings, working in the field as well as in the lab and office.

Skills: Analytical skills, presentation, written communication

Peatland restoration officer: Peatland is made up decaying plant material which cannot fully decompose. Peatland has the potential to absorb large amounts of carbon and is therefore vital in the fight against climate change – as well as being exceptionally beautiful – yet it is being degraded and new peat forms slowly. Peatland restoration officers oversee projects to protect and re-establish peatland. As the fight against climate breakdown steps up, this job will become increasingly in-demand. May require a driving licence.

Skills: Analytical skills, independence, organisation

Wildlife conservationist: Also known as ecologists, wildlife conservationists work to preserve a particular species of set of species. They carry out surveys to record how widespread a species is and how this is changing, create reports and presentations to communicate their data and investigate the causes for species reductions and how this can be stopped and reversed. They spend a lot of time outside but also carry out admin work in an office environment.

Skills: Analytical skills, observation skills, written communication

Wind energy engineer: Wind energy engineers design the infrastructure and components that make up a wind farm. This includes the energy-generating turbines, the wind-powered blades which turn them, the roads and transport infrastructure which are used to access them and the transmission lines, as well as the buildings which make up the site. As well as ensuring sites operate safely and cost-effectively, their primary role is to ensure that wind generation techniques are as efficient as possible.

Skills: Computer-Aided Design (CAD), logic, problem-solving

More resources:

Healthcare

Doctor: Medical doctors are qualified professionals who use medicine to diagnose and treat people who are ill, in pain or have other conditions. They work in health centres, surgeries, clinics, labs, prisons and hospitals. There are around 60 specific fields doctors can specialise in, including general practice, neurology, oncology, paediatrics, psychiatrist, rheumatology and surgery.

Skills: Attention-to-detail, people skills, problem-solving

A nurse in PPE supporting a Covid-19 patient

Nurses are at the forefront of the fight against the

the global Covid-19 pandemic

Mental health nurse: Mental health nurses support people with mental illness, from depression, anxiety and stress to personality disorders and addictions. They work in community mental health centres, residential homes for the elderly, GP surgeries and private clinics. They work with a range of people, from children to adults, or with a specific group such as offenders or people who struggle with eating disorders. 

Skills: Compassion, listening, problem-solving

Nurse: As the Covid-19 outbreak has demonstrated, nursing is one of the most valuable jobs in our society. Every day, nurses save lives and reduce suffering, providing care for people in need. Nurses work in a range of settings, from GP surgeries and hospital wards to the community (known as district nursing) and specialist fields such as midwifery, dermatology and neuroscience.

Skills: Caring skills, dedication, people skills

Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists take care of people with mental issues. They assess, diagnose and treat patients, usually working in a team of health and social care professionals. Psychiatrists work with a very broad range of problems, including schizophrenia, depression, drug addiction, eating disorders and phobias. They recommend treatments such as counselling, medication and suggest practical ways for patients to stay well.

Skills: Attention-to-detail, listening, problem-solving

Surgeon: Surgeons work in hospitals, performing operations as well as doing ward rounds checking on patients who are about to undergo surgery or who have recently come out of surgery. They also attend outpatient clinics, assessing patients’ needs, as well as teaching. Surgeons work with other health professionals including anaesthetists and nurses.

Skills: Hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, problem-solving

More resources:

Social care

Care assistant: Care assistants help people with day-to-day tasks such as cooking, getting around, housework, taking medication and using the toilet. Some care assistants travel within the community, visiting many clients over the course of the working day while others work exclusively in a single location such as a care home or community centre. During the Covid-19 outbreak, care assistants have been among the most important workers in our society, keeping our older and vulnerable friends and family-members safe.

Skills: Compassion, patience, physical strength

Nursery nurse with a small child

Nursery nurses work with children aged 8 and under

to help create a nurturing environment as they develop

Counsellor: Counsellors talk through their patient’s problems and feelings. They don’t tell people what to do, they ask questions and listen to their patient’s responses. With this information, they support their patient develop a personalised action plan to help overcome their problems.

Skills: Communication, listening, patience

Health visitor: Health visitors are nurses who work with the families of children under the age of 5. They help parents and carers offer a caring and supportive environment for children as they develop. They monitor children’s development and growth and look out for signs of neglect or abuse. Health visitors visit families at home as well as in GP surgeries, community clinics and children’s centres. Health visitors generally need driving licence.

Skills: Attention-to-detail, communication, problem-solving

Nursery nurse: Nursery nurses work with children aged 0 to 8 years and their parents or carers. They help ensure children grow up safe and happy in an environment which encourages healthy development. Community nursery nurses work at health centres and visit families in the local community. Nursery nurses generally need driving licence.

Skills: Creativity, initiative, observation

Social worker: Social workers encourage people families to live independently, protecting them from harm or abuse. They work with vulnerable people of all different ages, from small babies to the older people, as well as with different needs, including mental health problems, deprivation and poverty and victims of abuse. They visit clients, assess their needs and develop a tailored support programme. Social workers must be vigilant for signs of neglect, harm or abuse.

Skills: Independence, observation, problem-solving

More resources:

Read about more socially beneficial jobs – check out our series on #CrisisCareersHeroes to learn more about the key workers who are getting us through the Covid-19 crisis.

Images: Lead image by Wonder woman 0731 via Flickr, nursery image via Wikimedia Commons, peatland via Geograph, nurse via US government, nursery nurse via RAF

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