The launch of the Introduction to a Career in Social Care course has given many people a real insight into what a career in social care looks like. Launched in 2021, the course could not have been made available at a better time. The demand for social care professionals is increasing – heightened further by Covid – and the skills gap is bordering on crisis for the social care sector.
The new course, offered by 18 of Scotland’s 24 colleges, will encourage a variety of people into the care sector, filling job vacancies and improving care services in Scotland. Eighteen hundred funded spaces are available, providing students with an introduction to the area of social care and a stepping-stone to employment or further training.
At twenty-nine years of age, Katrina Hill enrolled on the course late last year and completed it in one month. We sat down with Katrina to find out how she found the course and what’s next for her.
Finding the right industry
Katrina left school in fourth year at the age of 16. She didn’t enjoy school and her attendance was very low. After dabbling in a variety of college courses ranging from beauty to cooking, Katrina was pleased to see a course being offered on social care as it has always been an interest of hers: she has been her dad’s primary carer for a number of years. “I looked forward to getting an eye-opening insight into the industry.”
Not only was this a key interest for Katrina but she was also aware that there were numerous job openings around where she lives for employment into the social care sector. “Showing you’ve done a course on social care looks great on your CV but I also wanted to help with the ongoing demand for carers and really give back.”
The course has allowed Katrina to fulfil a passion of hers and has taught her key skills which she can apply when looking after her dad. “It was great to be able to take on key skills which I can use in my daily life too.”
Learning the course
Designed to be taught fully online, students are able to work their way through the course at their own pace, making it easy to fit around any other commitments they have. “You can complete it in your own time. You’re in charge of your timetable and this boosted my confidence in my ability as I felt that I was in control of my learning,” said Katrina.
Katrina’s unpredictable health is one of the biggest challenges she faces when attending college. She says, “Having the course online meant I was able to stay at home if my health wasn’t good that day. I didn’t have to worry about getting into college.”
The course is taught over Microsoft Teams and there are a number of videos to go through with accompanying written materials. Katrina liked how the course showed you more aspects of the social care industry which she hadn’t considered previously. “The course opened my eyes. It shows you many different sides of social care, from working with people with mental health issues to supporting people with physical disabilities.”
For Katrina, the course offered more to her than she was expecting. “Having the course taught by theme is a great way to understand the social care industry and break it up into parts, allowing you to see what part of social care you enjoy and where you see yourself progressing.”
Support and planning for ‘what’s next’
The Level 5 course is a taster of what to expect in a Level 6 or HNC course. Katrina praises the variety of college courses on offer. “You can try lots of things until something sticks for you. It’s great for opening up opportunities and seeing how industry works.”
Katrina recalls the amount of support she received. “The lecturers were on hand to offer solutions to any issues you encountered on the course, including showing you great methods to remember and retain information. They were brilliant at sharing new study tips that I had never used before.”
After completing the course, students have the opportunity to sit down with one of the course organisers to discuss next steps. This can help students become aware of what courses they would need to take next in order to gain particular qualifications for a career in social care.
Katrina has enrolled on the Health and Social Care: Access to Allied Health Professions course at Ayrshire College. “The option of a work placement is something that I really wanted. One of the lecturers helped me find the best course which suited my interests.”
“I’m still figuring out what side of social care I would like to get into. The course has provided me with the opportunity to explore a key interest of mine and helped me plan out my life for years to come.”
If you are interested in undertaking this engaging course please check out which colleges are currently delivering the course and contact them directly for more information and to confirm your eligibility: https://www.cdn.ac.uk/introduction-career-social-care/