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Work in social care and early years

Care worker arriving at person's front door

Caring for others is one of the most rewarding careers there is.

Do you enjoy seeing people get the most out of each day and achieve what they want in life? This is what a career in care is all about.

It might mean working with:

  • Adults when they need extra help
  • Children and young people
  • Babies and young children

In fact, people of any age – supporting them to achieve their own personal goals.

If you have a positive attitude and a commitment to care for others, then for most roles you can gain any training and qualifications you need on the job. There are lots of ways to work flexibly, so you can fit caring for people around you and your family.

You'll be in demand

Now more than ever, people are needed to provide care and support to those who need it in our communities.

The demand for workers in the care sector in Wales continues to rise. The number of online job vacancies has more than doubled over the last 12 months. There were around 9000 job postings for care roles in April 2022. (Emsi, May 2022)

The top 10 jobs advertised online in Care in the latest 30 days in Wales are:

  • Care Workers and Home Carers
  • Social Workers
  • Nursery Nurses and Assistants
  • Housekeepers
  • Welfare and Housing Professionals
  • Senior Care Workers
  • Childminders
  • Housing Officers
  • Residential, Day and Domiciliary Care Managers
  • Youth and Community Workers

(Emsi, latest 30 days to 17 May 2022)

Explore job roles in social care and early years

Care Assistant

Find out what a Care Assistant does.

Nursery Nurse

Find out more about being a Nursery Nurse.

Social Worker

Find out what being a Social Worker involves, and if its right for you.  

More help to decide

If you are not sure about a career in care, try the WeCare Wales learning resource 'A Question of Care: a career for you' to see what a career in care is like. Once you’ve completed two of the challenges, you`ll receive a personal profile that can help you decide if its right for you.

Learn more about the jobs available working with children and adults in Wales, by reading Real stories from real people on WeCare Wales.


Routes into care

ReAct+

The ReAct+ programme aims to help individuals who have been impacted by redundancy, who are short-term unemployed or are aged 18 and 24 and not in education, employment or training gain the skills sought by recruiting employers.

All applicants for ReAct+ grants must seek advice and guidance from one of Working Wales’ careers advisers. This advice and guidance will take into account the labour market.

The ReAct+ programme can provide a grant of up to £1,500 for vocational training and up to £300 to help with costs associated with training, for example travel expenses. Additional support for childcare costs and personal development support to remove barriers to employment is also available.

Find out more about ReAct+.

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Introduction to Social Care

This is a training course for people who are interested in working in social care.

The four-day training course is available for anyone living in Wales and it will take place on-line with a tutor. The training will cover the essentials you need to start working in social care such as communication and safe working practices. When you start working, you will also receive extra support and training from your employer.

Find out more, or register your interest with WeCare Wales.

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Apprenticeships

There are apprenticeships available at levels 2,3,4 and 5.

Apprenticeship roles vary from day care or creche assistant practitioners and social care workers to managers and deputy managers of early years and social care settings.

Find out more about apprenticeships in Wales.

Hear from those who have completed an apprenticeship in care on the WeCare Wales website.

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Training from PACEY

PACEY provides training to help develop knowledge, skills and self-confidence.

A range of training is available from pre-registration training for childminders, to safeguarding training for anyone working with children.

Find out more about training from PACEY.

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Personal Learning Accounts (PLAs)

The Personal Learning Account (PLA) programme has been introduced to enable employed people to upskill and reskill into priority sectors, to strengthen their position in the labour market, and to enhance career and earning prospects.

In particular, the programme aims to help people earning below the median wage to increase their salaries. There are a range of different qualification levels.

Level 2 core qualifications

The level 2 core qualifications are suitable for people over the age of 16 who are looking to work in social care and early years roles. Achieving the core qualification will give people the core knowledge needed to work in social care and early years. This qualification will benefit people to go on and gain the practice qualification when they have a social care or early years job. These qualifications can be accessed from further education colleges.

Level 4 Preparing for Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care

This is a knowledge-based qualification for learners employed within the health and social care sector who intend to progress to a management role, that:

  • provides a ‘stepping stone’ opportunity for learners wanting to progress to Level 5
  • is primarily for those in paid or unpaid employment or who have access to a work placement
  • is designed for learners to develop the key knowledge and understanding that underpins leadership and management in the health and social care sector

Learners are required to complete this qualification (or an agreed comparable qualification) prior to taking the Level 5 Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care: Practice qualification.

Level 4 Preparing for Leadership and Management in Childrens Care, Play, Learning and Development

This is a knowledge-based qualification for learners employed within the Childrens Care, Play, Learning and Development sector, that:

  • provides a ‘stepping stone’ opportunity for learners wanting to progress to Level 5
  • is primarily for those in paid or unpaid employment or who have access to a work placement, in regulated childcare settings with families and children under the age of 8 and NHS children’s services for those working with families and children 0 – 19
  • is designed for learners to develop the key knowledge and understanding that underpins leadership and management in the Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development sector

Learners are required to complete this qualification prior to taking the Level 5 Leadership and Management in Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development: Practice qualification

Find out more about Personal Learning Accounts.

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Where to find jobs in care

If you think a job in care might be for you, there are a few things you can do:

  • Find job vacancies near you on WeCare Wales jobs
  • Check for vacancies advertised with your local authority council
  • Call into local businesses to introduce yourself and leave your CV
  • Get in touch with a Working Wales adviser for a chat about your future
  • Check out the links below for more opportunities and vacancies
Job Bulletin

Use our job bulletin to access hundreds of live vacancies across Wales. 

Employers recruiting now

Look at the employers who are recruiting now. Start your job search here.

Job websites

Use our list of popular job websites to help your job search.

Change your story by speaking to an adviser

Find out about the different ways to get in touch


Find out more

How to write a CV

Make your CV the best it can be. Find out what to include in your CV, view example CVs, and download our Guide to CV writing.

Interview advice

Get help to prepare and practise interview questions, and find out what to expect in an interview.

Covering letters and emails

Find out what to write in a covering letter or email.