There are lots of health and social care careers, but the common thread is that they all provide physical, emotional and social support. These professionals help people from lots of different backgrounds have a better quality of life.
If you’re a compassionate person with brilliant people skills, you might want to consider pursuing jobs in health and social care. The good news? You don’t need to go to university, you can do an apprenticeship instead. These are programmes where you work and study at the same time, gaining skills, a salary and professional qualifications.
'If you've got great people skills, a job in health and social care could be spot on. The good news? You don’t need to go to university, you can do an apprenticeship instead'
In this guide we’ll look at health and social care apprenticeships, including the skills you need to apply and what you’ll gain.
What are health and social care apprenticeships?
First, let’s start with the basics. The term “health and social care” refers to a collection of qualifications for people working in social care. Social care staff provide care and support for vulnerable people, such as those with disabilities and older people. Whereas healthcare takes place at hospital, social care is provided in the community, which means– at the home of the person receiving care, or in a care home (unlike healthcare which is more often given in hospitals or doctor’s clinics).
You can get these qualifications by doing an apprenticeship. There are two options: intermediate and advanced.
During apprenticeships in health and social care, you’ll work for an employer, like a local council or care home, while also going to college or a training provider to study towards a qualification. You’ll develop important transferable skills and also earn an apprentice salary.
The length of health and social care apprenticeships vary, but they’re usually around 18 months.
What will I do on the apprenticeship?
The tasks involved in apprenticeships in health and social care vary depending on the exact programme you choose and your employer. But typical tasks and responsibilities could include:
- Develop and put into place ‘care plans’ or ‘support plans’ for individual patients (sometimes referred to as residents of a care home or elderly person’s home).
- Help residents with personal care including bathing and washing.
- Help residents to move around and take part in different activities.
- Help residents to eat and drink.
- Ensure that residents are safe from harm.
- Develop and maintain relationships with resident’s families and friends.
- Work with a team to make sure there’s a high standard of care.
- Attend staff meetings and training courses as required.
What qualifications will I get?
On the intermediate health and social care apprenticeships, you’ll study towards the Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Adults) for England and sometimes the Level 2 Certificate in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care.
At the advanced level, you’ll gain the Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Adults) for England (QCF).
What do I need to apply?
The idea with apprenticeship is you usually don’t need many qualifications or prior experience in order to apply. However employers will want you to have certain skills and personal traits. These might include:
- Empathetic and compassionate.
- Good attention to detail so you can keep accurate records.
- Able to work as a team as well as independently.
- Good at using your initiative.
- Strong communication skills: you’ll be talking with people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Strong time management abilities.
- Reliable, positive and hard-working.
- Kind, understanding and patient attitude.
Learn more about the skills required for careers in care.
For the intermediate level apprenticeship you’ll usually need GCSEs at grade 4 or above in English and maths. Some intermediate apprenticeships won’t require you to have any qualifications.
If you’re interested in advanced level apprenticeships in health and social care, you’ll usually already need to have the Level 2 Health and Social Care qualification, in addition to GCSEs.
Other advice on social care careers...
Care worker via Flickr.