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Social care and social work

Person holding elderly person's wrist

Discover other sectors

This sector not for you?  Don't worry, there are plenty of others to explore.

This diverse sector appeals to graduates who are looking for rewarding work that makes a difference in people's lives. There are many roles available to graduates - some opportunities will require further professional qualifications and most will require (sometimes extensive) relevant paid or voluntary work experience.

Areas where you could work include but are not limited to:

  • counselling
  • housing
  • probation service
  • residential care
  • social work
  • youth and community work.

Find out about social care and social work

Key resources

Research the sector and keep up with current issues by reading:

What skills do I need?

Employers in this sector look for candidates who show real motivation to help others, plus evidence of some of these skills, depending on the organisation and specific role:

  • patience and sensitivity
  • active listening
  • able to stay calm and work effectively when under pressure
  • excellent communication - verbal and written
  • strong teamwork
  • non judgemental approach and able to deal with a range of people
  • self awareness
  • resilience
  • awareness of confidentiality
  • time management skills and ability to prioritise
  • information handling.

What qualifications do I need?

Depending on your area of interest, you may need a degree in a specific subject or be willing to undertake further qualifications.

Work experience

Work experience is essential if you want to work in social care or social work. Work shadowing and work placements can help you learn more about the areas of the sector that most interest you, and volunteering will show your dedication to the sector and help you develop your skills.


Social care work

  • Many national and local charities require volunteers to support their work. Opportunities are advertised through Handshake, Do-itYUSU and on charity websites. Consider organisations like Nightline, Samaritans and Childline, where you can volunteer as a listener taking calls from distressed members of the public.

Working with offenders

Working with children and young people

  • Explore the opportunities available with York Students in Schools.
  • Local youth organisations like Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts require volunteers.
  • There are opportunities to work abroad over summer as a counsellor at US summer camps.

See also the Psychology sector page for further suggestions and links to local care providers, including mental health support services.

Finding jobs

Jobs are advertised on:

Graduate training opportunities in social care include:

The recruitment process includes application, online test, video interview and assessment centre, before a conditional offer and final checks. Find out about CVs, job applications and the recruitment process on the Applying and interviewing pages.

Alternatively for some roles, such as social work, you could consider further study options as a route into the sector (eg completing a Masters in Social Work, such as the programme offered at York). 

What can I do at York?

More resources: networks, podcasts and blogs

Networks and accounts to follow

Podcasts and blogs


Keep up to date with the sector and learn about the types of jobs available with these podcasts.


Event recordings