‘Try it out, speak to people already working in caring roles and enjoy the challenges and progression that a career in care offers.”

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Care worker roles and responsibilities

One of the key things to remember is that you’re unlikely to find a job titled “adult social care worker”. That’s because adult social care is the umbrella term for a host of wide-ranging and specialist jobs that you’ll find in the sector. What unites them all are the qualities each one demands of you: commitment, compassion, respect, flexibility, and a willingness to learn.

Here, you can explore some of those job roles, understand what a typical day as a care worker could be like, and the specific skills each one requires.

Real Hands

Support workers and care assistants

These are the two most common job titles in adult social care. And while the responsibilities will be very similar, the difference in title may just reflect the titles chosen by a particular organisation for their employees.

The role involves supporting people with all aspects of their day-to-day living, including their social life, personal care and money management. This support can happen in someone’s own home, a care home, or a day care or community outreach service. You may be working shoulder-to-shoulder in a team or independently but as part of a wider network, with support available throughout.

Maggie Crawford

Personal assistants

A personal assistant (PA) is an employee of someone who wants to organise and direct their own support. Their role is to provide the support their employer has chosen, and work with them to achieve their unique personal outcomes. PAs may be asked to accompany individuals in any aspect of life, meaning it can be a highly rewarding and engaging role, a relationship that can sometimes last for years. A PA can work solely for one person or for a number of different people.

Learn more about Maggie’s experience as a Personal Assistant


Every day is different in adult social care

No two days are the same in adult social care as it is determined by the requirements and wishes of the person you’re caring for. The people you meet and work with offer up new experiences and memories every single day. On any given day you could be supporting a person to achieve the following:

  • Manage their personal care, which includes washing, dressing, eating and taking medication.
  • Identify risks of harm and keep themselves safe.
  • Monitor and improve their own health or manage health condition.
  • Learn life skills such as cooking and budgeting
  • Pursue hobbies, sporting activities and employment.
  • Develop friendships, spend time with family and maintain the relationships that are important to them.
  • Develop or update their personal plan.
  • Take full advantage of their legal rights including their rights to privacy, dignity and respect.
  • Build relationships through spending quality time together.

More care job titles

The types of jobs in adult social care are wide-ranging, and so too are the settings you can work in. Knowing about these job titles is useful when it comes to job searches, especially if you have an interest in a type of support, or relevant lived experience. Here are just some of the many different jobs that sit within adult social care:

  • home care support worker
  • care home support worker
  • family support worker
  • substance management support worker
  • outreach support worker
  • support worker in homeless accommodation
  • drug and alcohol support worker
  • women’s refuge support worker
  • housing support worker
  • healthcare support worker
  • mental health support worker
  • community support worker
  • adult support worker
  • community justice support worker

Care jobs in the spotlight

These positions will all have some things in common and also offer opportunities to develop specialist skills. Here are two examples.


Women’s refuge worker

As a Womens’ refuge support worker, you’ll support people who may have experienced difficult or even abusive home circumstances. Much of this role is centred around upholding the rights of women, children, and young people. This is done through a trauma informed and person-led approach.

This role is both highly rewarding, and challenging. You may share your own skills in money management, cooking, and finding work, or assist women and families in finding long term accommodation or counselling services.


Drug and Alcohol Support Worker

This job entails helping people who are experiencing difficulties linked to their use of harmful substances. You’ll help people set goals, make positive choices in all areas of their lives and progress towards them on their personal recovery journey.


The skills and experience you’ll need

Some employers may ask that you have some relevant knowledge or previous experience, but many are just looking for people with the right values.

Transferable skills are really useful too. So, if you’ve worked in retail or hospitality, for example, you might have great interpersonal skills, as well as being able to manage money, and know how to keep an environment safe and clean. Being able to anticipate and meet emotional needs as much as physical ones is important.

You can find out more about recommended experience and next steps here.

Relationships and support are at the core of how social care is run and managed. Not only do you provide this support, but you receive it from the organisation you work for.


Gaining work experience, skills, and experience

If you’d prefer to develop some confidence before applying for care jobs then undertaking some work experience or completing a college course could really help.