“If you choose a career in social care, I guarantee you’ll never be bored again! Regardless of which area you work in, every individual will have different needs and no two days will ever be the same.” 


This is the promise given by former nurse Mandy Day-Calder, now the managing director of Charles Bloe Training, who provide training for hundreds of social care staff each year. 

Mandy passionately believes quality training is the foundation to safe, dignified and effective care. 


“Without a doubt caring for others is a privilege and incredibly rewarding, yet it’s also challenging,” she says. “You’ll work with people at their most vulnerable and see life at is rawest. However, if you have the right skills, training and ongoing support, you’ll never look back.” 


In terms of essential skills, Mandy points out training for social care staff tends to fall into three categories: mandatory, awareness and clinical skills. 


“Mandatory is the broad term for training your employer decides is essential in order for you to perform your role safely and efficiently,” she explains. “It usually includes courses on topics such as Health and Safety, Infection Control, Food Hygiene, Moving and Handling of People, First Aid and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults or Children. 


“Awareness training sessions aim to provide you with an insight into some of the conditions your clients may be living with – for example, mental health, cancer or dementia. Increasingly, social care workers are caring for people with what’s called ‘complex care needs’, so you may also receive training on topics such as autism, brain injury and spinal care.” 


Clinical skills training, meanwhile, is focused on specific subjects or tasks you will be required to know about in your caring role. 


Mandy says: “This type of training provides you with the knowledge and skills to care for patients or clients with a variety of health or social care needs and can include topics such as personal care, assisting with feeding as well as communication skills.” 


To become a social worker, you must register with one of four UK councils: The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in England, Social Care Wales (SCW), Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). These bodies exist to protect the public by ensuring employees are fully qualified – social workers have to re-register every two years, completing post-registration training and learning to qualify. 

“Due to the sensitive nature of the work, not everyone is suited towards a caring role,” says Mandy. “This is why councils such as the SSSC acknowledge a set of core values and skills that underpin quality care.” 


The core values are respect, working together (collaboration), dignity and empowerment. 

Core skills include self-awareness, the ability to build trust, promoting dignity and fairness (treating everyone equally) and engaging people. 

Mandy adds: “In years gone by health and social care was very task-orientated. Thankfully, times have progressed, and a more holistic approach is now taken. So these core values and skills are integrated into all the training you’ll receive. 


“For example, if you’re attending a workshop on moving and handling, your trainer will stress the importance of communication and teach you how to move people in a dignified and respectful way, while empowering the individual to do what they can for themselves as safely as possible. This is the essence of what’s called ‘person-centred care’.” 

Becoming a successful social care worker is not only about training, however; ongoing support is also incredibly important. 


“Even if you’re a lone worker, quality care revolves around teamwork,” says Mandy. “Therefore, it’s important you receive regular supervision or support. Just as your clients are all individuals, your needs will vary from your colleagues’ and that’s perfectly normal. 


“Working in a care environment can take its toll emotionally so sometimes you may simply need someone to talk to. Ask for help, if you need it, and try not to compare your way of coping to those around you. 


“From a training perspective, some of the skills you’ll be taught will require you to undertake a period of competency-based assessment in your workplace. Remember too, that not all learning takes place in a classroom. 


“It’s also good, if you have the opportunity, to reflect on your practice with a more senior worker . . . it’s amazing how much this process can teach you!” 


If the notion of training and working in social care appeals to you, there are many opportunities to kickstart your career. So why not take a look at the current vacancies on x1jobs?