A Career In Social Care In Ireland

19 June 2024

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Making the world a better place is important to us at TTM, and our valued candidates who work in Social Care practise this ethic every day. In this blog we explore what Social Care in Ireland involves, how to start your career in this field, and what opportunities are open to you.

What is Social Care?

Social Care is a practice-based profession that supports the needs of individuals, families and communities who for different reasons, experience marginalisation, are disadvantaged or who have special needs. Those who work in Social Care focus on guiding and supporting people in their care toward achieving their full potential. They help people find, access and use the resources and supports they need to enjoy a better life. It’s about working closely with troubled people – finding solutions and developing plans to guide people to an improved quality of life.

In terms of the bigger picture, Social Work aims to build social change and development, social cohesion and the empowerment and liberation of people.

Where Do Social Care Professionals Work?

Social Care professionals are found across many settings and environments, working with people who have diverse needs and mental or physical health problems. For example, Social Care professionals may work with children and adolescents in residential care, or with those who have experienced trauma and challenging childhood experiences. Some work with older people, with people with mental health and wellbeing issues, as well as with people who are homeless or dependent on alcohol or drugs. Those in Social Care may work with families out in the community, including those within marginalised groups or populations.

Why Work in Social Care?

Ask anyone in Social Care and they’ll tell you their work brings rewards second to none and has true impact. Working in Social Care is a way to change people’s lives for the better, and to contribute towards change and social justice. For example, if you’re a person who is concerned with societal norms and believe in meaningful change, Social Care is an opportunity to play your part. With so many settings, environments and specialties, the career versatility in Social Care is excellent, including working with global organisations. People who work in Social Care feel privileged in the work they do and the support they give, while their career is a way to express and exercise their own personal values and beliefs in their work life.

The two main roles within Social Care are Social Worker, and Social Care Worker. What’s the difference? Well, while a Social Worker deals with systems in society on a broader scale, Social Care Workers work in a direct person-to-person capacity with individuals – helping with personal care and social needs. The qualifications required within each role are also different – so let’s take a closer look:

All about Social Workers

Within Social Care, a Social Worker will plan and implement care packages for people in need in society – to help promote their independence and empower them to take control of their lives. They can work with children, families, people with disabilities or illness, older people and offenders. The care packages put in place are then delivered by Social Care Workers. As a Social Worker, you can work in many different settings, including residential care, hospitals, day care, schools, health centres, prisons and probation. Social Workers play a crucial role in highlighting and addressing issues relating to discrimination and inequality in society. You can find out more here.

How to Qualify as a Social Worker in Ireland

To work as a Social Worker in Ireland you need to hold a recognised qualification as a Professionally Qualified Social Worker. These qualifications include Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor in Social Studies, Masters in Social Work, Master of Arts in Social Work and Graduate Diploma in Social Work. You can see a full list of approved qualifications here

You must also be registered with CORU, the body responsible for regulating health and social care professionals under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.

What Makes a Good Social Worker?

Social Workers need to be patient, understanding, resilient and tolerant. Empathy and interpersonal skills are top requirements, while Social Workers also need to think analytically and be able to make decisions in challenging situations. Excellent organisational and time-management skills are key, as is discretion.

All About Social Care Workers

For various reasons and at different stages in their lives, some people need support to develop and maintain their independence, dignity and control. Social Care Workers provide such personal, one-to-one, practical and emotional support to different people, normally under the supervision of a qualified Social Worker and in partnership with other health or Social Care professionals. They work with families in the community, adoption and fostering agencies, welfare agencies and women’s refuges, organisations that support the homeless, and within many more environments. As a Social Care Worker, you might be working with those with intellectual or physical disabilities, helping them to grow their independence. You could assist children and adolescents in residential care or at a day centre - working with them towards their goal of achieving a better future. You could work with older people in their own home, helping them with daily tasks, while Social Care workers are also there to support people going through big life changes such as bereavement or illness.

How to Qualify as a Social Care Worker

In Ireland, the minimum qualification to work as a Social Care Worker is a 3-year Level 7 degree, while a Level 8 degree can help get you into a management position. Trinity College is a main provider of the undergraduate programme, while UCD, UCC, Galway, Sligo and Maynooth offer a Masters in Social Work. You will also have to be a registered member of CORU.

What Makes a Good Social Care Worker?

To make a great Social Care Worker you need to be good at relating to others, have solid ethics and values and believe in the importance of empowerment. You’ll be empathetic with strong interpersonal skills and self-awareness and you’ll have a sound, non-judgemental attitude. You’ll work well within a team, have active listening skills and be able to negotiate. Advocacy is paramount here: you’ll be expected to speak on behalf of a client who may not be able to represent themselves, and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect.

Partner with TTM

TTM is here to help you find the very best jobs in Social Care in Ireland – with Permanent, Contract and temporary options available. We offer roles within the public, private and voluntary sectors including residential, respite and day services. You can choose the environment that interests you most, including mainstream childcare, elderly care, homeless support, addiction services and intellectual disability support. We offer jobs right across Ireland – complemented by the personal support of dedicated consultants who will streamline the process for you every step of the way.

Explore the opportunities we offer in Social Care here