Why should I consider a career change into adult social care?

It’s a job that can make a huge difference to people’s lives, including yours. It’s the endless variety that makes it so rewarding. After all, no two people are the same, and neither are the days spent working with them. The opportunity to learn and progress in a positive and highly social environment is another big plus as you will have the opportunity to help and interact with people from all walks of life. Another bonus is that some roles could offer flexibility as certain adult social care jobs are rota based so you may be able to work alongside existing commitments.

What qualifications do I need?

Some entry-level jobs in adult social care don’t require qualifications but positions with more responsibility will. However, your own lived experience and certain transferable skills will help greatly in getting you started.

What you do need is the right attitude, values, and personal qualities, like patience, respect and compassion. These qualities might well be ones you’ve gained working in other sectors like retail or hospitality where customer service and satisfaction are paramount. Spending time looking after children or caring for a family member through an illness are lived experiences of immense value too. These are the transferable experiences that are vital in adult social care.

Am I too old to start a new career in adult social care?

If you have the qualities we need, as well as the energy and ambition then there’s nothing stopping you from making the change to working in adult social care, no matter whether you’re a spring chicken or a little longer in the tooth. In fact, being a little older means you can bring a wealth of experience and maturity to the role.

Will I have a strong team around me?

As a care worker you’ll be part of a team of committed individuals who change lives every day through their support and compassion. The bond that exists between you and your wider team means you have a network of colleagues who will offer you guidance. There will be induction programmes too, which can vary from online resources to on-the-job shadowing.

How can I retrain as a care worker?

While adult social care requires a skilled workforce, most care workers gain a qualification on-the-job, meaning you don’t need a qualification to get started in your role.

For the majority of job roles in social care you will need to register with the SSSC (Scottish Social Services Council) within the first six months of starting employment. You will then be supported to work towards a relevant qualification and gain it within five years. The training and experience you gain while working in adult social care are extremely valuable, but there are also many free learning materials used by social service workers that you can access now.


“My only wish is that I’d started my career in care sooner. If you have an open mind, if you feel like you’ve got a caring nature or the urge to help others, then go for it!”