Careers within the health and social sector

Healthcare positions involve helping people to have a better quality of life

There are various career options within the healthcare and social sector. Each career path requires a different skillset and approach to physical, emotional and social support. Healthcare positions involve helping people to have a better quality of life, particularly those who are vulnerable or elderly. 

A whopping 1.5 million people work in the healthcare sector in the UK. This industry contributes around £43 billion to the economy and thousands of jobs. You could work in childcare protection, counselling services, fostering and much more. 

You will need to be educated to degree level for some roles, like social work, child psychotherapy, community education and education psychology. However, for others, you can access positions through work experience, volunteering and apprenticeship programmes. Aim to get hands-on experience in a healthcare setting to see if you enjoy the role and want to pursue it in the future. 

Here are a few of the roles in the health and social sector and what they entail. 

Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists work with individuals whose health stops them from doing certain activities. You will need a degree in occupational therapy, which the Health and Care Professions Council has approved. Occupational therapists are excellent problem solvers and can work with both other professionals and their clients.

Social workers

Social workers often specialise in a particular field of healthcare. For example, you may choose to specialise in working with adults who have a physical disability or with children with mental health conditions. Do your research and select a field that you think you’d excel in. 

Care worker

Care workers focus on helping individuals live more independently. They may help with physical activities, social interactions and book appointments. Care workers may shower their clients, dress them, and help them with living independently. Care workers look after vulnerable individuals and the elderly.  

Being a care worker is emotionally and physically demanding. You need to be prepared for the toll this role can take on your mental and physical health. Manage your time, set boundaries and use your initiative to be the best care worker you can. 

Support staff

Care facilities need chefs, drivers and community transport staff to help out. Support staff may drive a minibus that takes care home residents back and forth to their appointments and activities. Support staff are a vital part of any care facility. 


Art, music and drama therapists can help the client to understand their emotions and internal conflicts. Art therapies can help to reduce anxiety, stress and even manage addiction in some clients. This line of social work focuses less on taking care of the individual daily, like a care worker.

The healthcare industry is a rewarding industry to work in. Make sure to do your research and consider whether this demanding career is the one for you. 

The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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