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Social Care, Guidance and Community

Social Care, Guidance and Community

  • Overview of the Sector

    According to ‘The Growing Social Care Sector– An Interactive Guide’ (Guardian, 2014) the Social Care sector already employs 1.5 million but need to recruit for at least another one million job roles by 2025. Within the sector there are a broad diversity of job roles including but not limited to 

    Graduate areas of work include:

    • Social Work - Support and advocate for people who are experiencing difficulties or are in harm.
    • Care Manager - Managing staff and supporting residents in a residential care setting.
    • Youth Worker - Working with young people in support of their personal development.
    • Counsellor - Provide talking therapy to people who may be in distress or in difficult or challenging circumstances.
    • Community Development Worker - Involves working to develop and empower a local community socially, culturally and economically.
    • Advice Worker - Provide advice to people across a range of specialist areas such as debt and housing.
    • Adult Guidance Worker - Provide employment and training advice and guidance to adults in a variety of settings.
    • Careers Adviser- Provide employment, education and training advice to school age children and adults in schools, colleges, universities and elsewhere.
  • Typical Jobs in the social care, guidance and community sector
  • What do I need to gain graduate employment?


    Each role and area of work is different. For some roles building relevant experience is really important (particularly for social work and youth work). As an undergraduate you should seek to acquire experience of helping and supporting others within the community and voluntary sector.

    A relevant degree is usually needed for social work and youth work although the other roles are open to all disciplines. To work as a Care Manager you do not specifically need a degree although many post holders may have management qualifications and/or degrees. Similarly if you are interested in pursuing a career as a qualified counsellor you will need to obtain qualifications accredited by a professional body e.g. the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. 


    For all of these roles having some relevant experience is either vital or really useful. To apply for a degree in social work or youth work you need to demonstrate some experience in the social care or youth sectors.

    Find volunteering experience through:

    The Work Experience Fair usually includes representation from many organisations in this sector.

    The Person:

    For all of these roles you need to be really interested in people and their welfare and well-being. You need to be knowledgeable about your specialist area to be successful in supporting and developing the client group you work with. You will need excellent interpersonal and communication skills: interacting with and supporting client groups is key to this sector. Additional specialist skills and knowledge are required for most roles.

  • Key employers

    Key Employers– Northern Ireland:

    Health & Social Care Trusts, Education Authority, Queen’s University, Ulster University, Further Education Colleges, Citizens Advice Bureau, Careers Service NI, Cruse, Relate, Charity Organisations

    Key Employers– UK and Global:

    Social Service Departments, Local Authorities, Citizens Advice Bureau, Universities, Further Education Colleges, NHS Trusts, National Careers Service, Careers Wales, Skills Development Scotland

  • Local/ Northern Ireland Opportunities

    On Campus resources:

    • MyFuture– paid and voluntary positions advertised
    • The Work Experience Fair (February) 

    Advertised roles:

    • Check local job search websites e.g. NIJobfinder, NIJobs, RecruitNI
    • Check vacancy pages on community and voluntary organisation websites
    • Follow institutions and organisations on Facebook and twitter and sign up for their newsletters

    Unadvertised roles & networking:

    • Volunteer to get included on internal communications
    • Let your contacts at previous volunteering positions know you’re job hunting
    • Connect with relevant groups and professional bodies on LinkedIn
    • Consider speculative applications and ask to work shadow someone in the sector where appropriate

    Northern Ireland Specific (websites with paid and volunteering opportunities):

    • CommunityNI– paid positions in the community and voluntary sector
    • HSCRecruit– advertises roles across the Health and Social Care Trusts and offer a graduate management trainee scheme within Health and Care in Northern Ireland
    • JobCentreOnline– many public sector organisations use this government website to advertise opportunities
    • VolunteerNow– has a searchable database of voluntary opportunities
    • NISCC- Northern Ireland Social Care Council
    • NICVA– NI Council for Voluntary Action
    • YCNI- Youth Council for Northern Ireland