Aug 21

Nine unexpected careers in social care you may not even know exist

Posted: 10 August 2021

When picturing a career in social care, many may instinctively think of a residential care worker role, providing care and support for people who are older. While a residential care worker is one important and valuable role within social care, the variety of jobs available in the sector stretches far beyond this.

People working in social care may provide care and support for a variety of people including people with a physical disability, people with a learning disability, or people with a mental health condition, and care and support can be provided across many different settings including residential care, home care, and community care.

Many social care roles don’t actually involve providing direct care but supporting people and the sector in other ways, such as working in admin, communications, IT, catering, transport or maintenance.

If you’re considering a career in social care, or already work in the sector but are looking for a new role, you may be interested to find out more about some of the lesser known careers in care.

1)    Activities co-ordinator

Activities co-ordinators are responsible for organising social activities for people who need care and support and supporting them to take part.

This could involve talking to people about what activities they want to take part in and assessing what activities would benefit them, booking entertainment with external suppliers, and arranging days out.

Activities co-ordinators are usually based in care homes or day centres, but you could also work in someone’s home or in the community.

Find out more about working as an activities co-ordinator.


2)    Social prescriber

The social care and health sectors are increasingly working together to support people who need care. This means that new roles have been evolving which incorporate both health and social care, including the role of social prescriber.

This role connects people with non-medical support, such as day centres, charities, or community groups, to improve their wellbeing and tackle social isolation. This will involve doing as assessment of what care and support people need – such as physical activities, social contact, or new skills – sourcing the relevant support, and reviewing the progress which people make.

Social prescribers usually work in a GP surgery, health centre or community organisation.

Find out more about working as a social prescriber. 


3)    Personal assistant

As a personal assistant (PA) you would be employed by an individual employer; this means an individual who’s hiring their own support staff to support them to live an independent life. You’ll usually provide support in their home or in the community.

The sort of tasks a personal assistant could assist with can range from personal care to household tasks, physical activity, social activities and supporting with attendance in education or at work.

In a workplace setting, a personal assistant may support an individual with transport to work, moving around the workplace, and with accessing and using documents and equipment or communicating with team members.

Find out more about working as a personal assistant.


4)    Complementary therapist

Complementary therapy includes treatments such as reflexology, massage, and aromatherapy. As a complementary therapist you would administer these therapies to people who may be experiencing emotional distress or physical pain.

Complementary therapists could work in a care home, health centre, hospice or in someone’s home. As well as administering therapy the role involves assessing people to identify what treatments they’ll benefit from and evaluating the impact of these treatments.

An important element of this role is building trusting relationships with people who need care and support.

Find out more about working as a complementary therapist.


5)    Shared lives carer

A shared lives carer opens up their home and their lives to people who need care and support. This may mean having someone as a regular daytime visitor, having them stay with you for short periods of time, or having them live with you full-time.

Tasks that shared lives carers support with could include everyday tasks such as cooking, learning new skills, taking part in social activities and going on holiday or to events together.

Shared lives carers are self-employed and don’t have ‘working hours’ like a care worker role – it’s all about matching people who get on well together so that it feels more like family life. 

Find out more about working as a shared lives carer.


6)    Rehabilitation worker

Rehabilitation workers support people to live independently, often following an illness or accident, and help them access support with housing, finance, social activities, and life skills such as cooking or budgeting.

This role includes carrying out assessments within the community to identify what care and support people need and working with other professionals such as social workers and occupational therapists to make sure people get the right help.

Rehabilitation workers also provide advice about how to use specialist equipment, help with daily life skills such as how to make a cup of tea, and organise sports, cultural and educational activities.

Find out more about working as a rehabilitation worker.


7)    Advocacy worker

The role of an advocacy worker is to support vulnerable people to make decisions and have their voice heard when decisions are being made about their lives.

Advocacy workers are responsible for securing people’s rights, such as accessing services they’re entitled to, and ensuring that people are involved in their own care and support planning.

This would involve supporting people with decisions around housing, disability living allowance, care planning, medical decisions, financial planning, and hospital admissions.

You might work for a private or charity advocacy service, or for your local authority.

Find out more about working as an advocacy worker.


8)    Specialist co-ordinator

A specialist co-ordinatorspecialises in one area of care such as dementia, end of life care, mental health, substance misuse, or moving and handling, and take responsibility for co-ordinating this aspect of care.

The role can be based in a care home, in a local authority or in another health or voluntary sector organisation.

The role would include training staff in your specialist area, ensuring everyone can access the care and support they need in your area, and implementing projects related to your specialism.

Find out more about working as a specialist co-ordinator.


9)    Admin and business roles

There’s also many roles in the social care sector which don’t involve providing care and support, such as a range of administrative and business management roles including HR, communications, IT, finance, and secretarial.

Working in HR you would be responsible for helping to recruit staff for care organisations and supporting workforce wellbeing and culture. In a marketing or communications role you’d be tasked with raising the profile of a care organisation and sharing the work that you do.

In an administrative role you would be responsible for the smooth running and organisation of a provider’s day-to-day processes and documents.

Find out more about these types of roles in the social care sector.

You can find out more about these roles and many other jobs in the wide sector of social care on our Think Care Careers page.

Our #RecruitmentReady spotlight also has more information on working in social care and recruitment processes.