Social Care, Guidance and Community

  • 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, youth work and counselling). 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 type qualifications and/or degrees. Similarly if you are interested in pursuing a career as a qualified counsellor you will need to obtain a series of qualifications up to at least diploma level accredited by 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 (February) 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:

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 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

UK and global opportunities

On Campus resources:

  • ‘Going Global’– database of jobs and internships, key employers and country guides available through MyFuture -> Jobs -> Goinglobal
  • Graduate Recruitment & Placement Fair– annual showcase of NI and international firms with vacancies

UK & Ireland

  • TheFrontLine– provides on the job training towards working as a children’s social worker for students with degrees other than social work
  • ThinkAhead– similar to the above but for those interested in training to be Mental Health Social Workers
  • Step up to Social Work government sponsored programme leading to a postgraduate diploma in Social Work  
  • an online network for Irish community and non-profit organisations 
  • NHS graduates– provide opportunities for graduates to train as managers within the NHS in England
  • Skills for Care– run a National Graduate Management Training Scheme for graduates interested in a career in care

For further information and jobs in these sectors see:

Professional legal bodies and organisations

Further Reading and Information

Prospects industry insights and Gradireland sector career guides will help you to search for employment in this employment sector.




Further information resources are available at the Student Guidance Centre Hub (Opening hours: Mon- Fri 09:00- 17:00), including free copies of Gradireland, TargetJobs and Prospects guides plus self-help guides and employer brochures. The Student Guidance Centre Hub has free wifi, tea and coffee.

This information is obtained from a variety of sources, including the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS), Prospects, Gradireland and relevant professional organisations and other appropriate resources, as available.

We endeavour to ensure that our online resources are current and contain relevant information. However, we cannot accept responsibility for the contents of external websites.