As the new year kicks off, it’s a great time to reflect on your vocational goals and consider what steps to take to advance your career.
Whether you’re just starting out in the field or you’re a seasoned professional looking to advance, there are plenty of opportunities to develop your skills and progress in your social care job.
If you’re wondering how best to move forward, here are some tips and strategies to consider as you set your sights on the year ahead:
It’s important to make your career aspirations known to your manager so that they can support you. Consider setting up a regular check-in to keep an open line of communication going – this means your manager will be to provide access to resources that can help such as training programmes or mentorship opportunities linked to your specific ambitions.
Also, discussing skills development with your manager can help align your goals with those of the organisation, increasing your chances of being offered internal opportunities for growth and advancement. This is a great first step in pursuing your career goals, as your manager could be a great source of guidance and advocate for your development!
Many organisations offer professional development programmes or courses that can help you learn new skills and advance your career. Consider taking advantage of these opportunities, whether they be in-person or online.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a vital part of the ongoing learning and development of social care professionals in the UK. CPD can take many forms, including training courses, conferences, workshops, online learning and other structured learning opportunities. These opportunities help you stay up-to-date with the latest research, techniques and best practices in the field so you’re able to provide the best possible care.
In the UK, there are a number of professional bodies and organisations that offer CPD opportunities specifically for social care professionals. For example, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) sets standards for the education and training of social care professionals and offers a range of CPD events and resources.
Social Care Training Courses
Whether you’d like to specialise in a certain area, from mental health and wellbeing to adult social care management, there are a wide variety of training courses available to social care workers in the UK. These courses are often provided by local authorities, professional associations or private training providers.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) even funds the development of social carers skills through Skills for Care allowing money to be claimed back on the costs of ‘completing a broad range of adult social care qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning module’.
Your Social Care Job
There are several reasons why social care workers may want to switch jobs for career development. One of the main reasons is to gain new experiences and learn new skills, which can be accomplished by taking on new responsibilities or working in different settings or with different populations. Another reason may be to take on higher-level roles or management positions. Further, pursuing a new job may provide a better work-life balance and increase earning potential.
If part of your new year plans involve a search for a new job (casual, part or full-time), or maybe even a promotion within your current organisation, you might want to enlist the help of a healthcare recruitment agency.
With the resources and expertise to match the right candidate with the right job as well as support with CV preparation, interview coaching and negotiation of terms and conditions, a recruiter can be a valuable support throughout the job search and skills development process.
While formal training and development programmes are important, don’t forget about the value of informal learning opportunities. Shadowing a colleague, seeking out mentorship or taking on a new project can all be great ways to learn new skills and grow in your career.
Mentorship and Shadowing
Mentorship and shadowing provides opportunities for social care workers to learn from experienced professionals, acquire new skills and gain valuable insights into the field.
Mentorship is a relationship in which an experienced professional, or “mentor,” provides guidance, advice and support to a less experienced colleague, or “mentee.” A mentor can serve as a role model, a sounding board and a source of inspiration and motivation for the mentee. They can provide guidance on how to navigate the social care industry, offer feedback and advice on work-related issues and share their own experiences and lessons learned. The mentorship can be either formal or informal, in a one-on-one basis or in a group setting.
Shadowing, while similar to mentorship, more specifically refers to the process of observing and learning from a more experienced professional while they perform their duties. Shadowing can be particularly beneficial for new or aspiring social care workers, as it allows them to observe first-hand the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of a role, as well as the skills and knowledge required to perform effectively. It’s also a great way to learn how to handle real-life situations, through observations of professionals’ real-time responses.
To most benefit from mentorship and shadowing opportunities, it’s essential to approach them with an open mind and a willingness to ask for help and guidance when needed. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of your learning objectives and clearly communicate them to your mentor or the person you are shadowing.
Whilst it’s important to seek advice from your manager and other mentors, as well as externally source CPD/mentorship/training, it’s also important to think about career development opportunities that are completely within your control.
Self-motivated reflective and research practices help you stay up both up to date with industry knowledge and in touch with your own relationship to the social care world. Here are a few tips:
We hope these suggestions inspire you to take charge of your own social care career development in the year ahead and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to set goals and work towards a fulfilling career in the everchanging social care field!
As experts in social care and other healthcare jobs for over two decades, we possess a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the best development opportunities for social care workers. Whether it’s for general advice on how to advance your career or specific guidance on how to secure your next promotion, please reach out – we’d love to help.