Ten steps to a career in care

Ten steps to a career in care | Careers in care | SSSC

Resources and guidance for work coaches, careers advisers and employment support workers.

We’ve worked with partners across employment support settings and social services to gather up resources, training opportunities and guidance. We’ve organised these under ten steps so you can keep the conversation going and help individuals work towards the right career opportunity, no matter their starting point.

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We’ve matched the steps to the employability pipeline to help you select the right resources. We also know you’ll use your own professional judgement to work out which steps and resources are relevant to the individual you’re working with.


Resources and guidance to help you reach out to individuals and get inspired about careers in care.

1 Introduce a career in care


These videos make a lasting impression and will help you introduce the career to new audiences.

SSSC Code of Practice, with staff from Capability Scotland


Early learning and childcare careers in Scotland


Young people discuss what it’s really like to work in health and social care, The Prince’s Trust


Conversation starters:

There are two Scottish Government careers campaign websites with lots of information about what it’s like to work in adult social care and early learning and childcare.

The national On the Adult Social Care careers campaign website can be found at www.caretocare.scot. You will find there’s a conversation tool , a short guide to working in adult social care , social media templates and much more on the stakeholder resources page.

The national Early Learning and Childcare careers campaign website can be found at www.childcarecareersscotland.scot The website has an ELC resources page with leaflets, posters and more.

Can you help Kat take on the world with confidence?
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Social media:

You can access social media imagery and templates from the above childcare and social care campaign website. Help us spread the word about careers in social services by using #LifeChangingWork on your posts.

2 Continue the conversation

These short videos will help you understand a career in care. You can use them to discuss what it would mean and any concerns or challenges. We’ve included some key information here to help.


Click on the About button under each video to find extra guidance about these areas of work.

Early years: Why work in ELC?


Social care: Who can work in social care?


Social work: What’s it like to be a social worker?


More resources

Visit the Iriss.fm podcast channel to access podcasts from Disclosure Scotland, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), SSSC and current social service workers.

Explore www.careersincare.scot to read descriptions of the many roles in childcare, social care and social work. There’s also Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (like funding and work experience) and a toolkit of recruitment resources

iris fm banner.

Getting the right help early in the career search

Two areas which may benefit from discussion at an early stage are communication skills and previous convictions.

There are a range of life experiences which can affect an individual's career journey, in any industry. We've put lots of information in Step Five, Assess to help you consider how some of these experiences might link with careers in care.

Here are two examples from Step Five which are particularly important to discuss at an early stage when planning a career in care.

Man coversing with elderly woman.

3 Encourage those with the right values

A career in care isn’t for everyone. It’s a career in which personal values, like respect and compassion, are of the highest importance. Take a look at these resources to help you identify the right people to recommend for this career. Showing that your employment support service takes a values-based approach when promoting these careers can help you build and maintain relationships with more employers in the sector.

Values-based resources

Here are the three key resources we highlight in our careers toolkit.

Man browsing question of care website.
A Question of Care

Go To

Man laughing with woman.
Values Based Recruitment Toolkit

Go To

Woman laughing.
Safer recruitment guide

Go To


Resources and guidance to help you assess initial needs and plan activities to grow confidence.

4 Convert interest into action

We know that when people starting their career in care have a better understanding of what their role will be like, and their level of responsibility, they will have a better experience. They will also know much earlier if it’s a job they are likely to enjoy, or if they would be better suited to something else.

In this step we provide you with some information to help you understand this a bit more and do an overall assessment of work readiness, specifically in relation to care careers. There’s plenty of ideas and support in our Ten Steps to help you and the person you’re working with to create an action plan and move forward in this journey (no matter their starting point) if they decide this is the right career for them.

5 Promote strengths and remove barriers

People may not realise that their previous experiences, even challenging ones, can represent sources of strength and first-hand knowledge. Such experiences may also increase their natural ability to empathise with others and respect individual differences. These can be very attractive qualities to future employers.

We’ve described some types of experience below. We’ve also added guidance to address areas which an individual may perceive or experience barriers to work because of the same experience.

Refugees and asylum seekers


Free learning resources, case studies and links for care training programmes.

6 Resource and training directory

The SSSC has created four free learning resources to help people learn about careers in care

The SSSC has worked with employers and employment support providers to create four free learning resources. They are inspired by core topics in Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) and will help people learn about careers in care, including what to expect and how to prepare. Learners can work through these at their own pace, or if you're a work coach you can use them in group sessions.

If you're an employer you can share these resources on your website or job adverts. You can also encourage applicants who are not yet ready for roles in your organisation to try the learning resources or contact an employability course provider below.

Go to the learning resources
Screenshot of the Staying safe and well learning resource showing a figure washing hands and other figures doing physical activity

You can also find courses on the Skills Training Network website .


Resources and guidance to help people select and apply for the right job in care.

7 Find the right job

Organisations have different preferences for where they advertise their opportunities. Some opportunities will appear across a number of websites, and some are likely to be limited to one place. It’s helpful to have an overview of different job platforms to give someone the best chance of finding the role which suits them best.

  • While you can apply for some roles with a CV, many organisations have their own application forms.
  • Roles should typically be the living wage or higher. Look at the wider benefits offered like learning and development opportunities, location, permanent contracts and suitable shift patterns.
  • Research an organisation’s values and services to find a good fit and try to reflect this research in job applications.

8 Prepare a job application

When an individual wants to apply for an advertised role it is likely that they will be asked to complete an application form. Each organisation will design their own application pack which provides an opportunity to describe the role in detail and illustrate the organisation’s values, culture and employee benefits.

There are some common elements you should expect including a personal statement in which the individual will outline their knowledge, skills and experience. It’s a good idea to have a basic personal statement prepared which can then be amended to suit the particular values and responsibilities set out by the organisation which is advertising the role.


Resources and guidance to support people to stay and progress in their new career.

10 In work support and aftercare

We know that many employment support providers can offer in-work support to individuals at the beginning of their new career in care. Here are some key learning and development resources to help you as you keep important conversations going.