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A Guide to Working in Social Care – Education & Training

Cpl Healthcare’s Social Care division manager, Daryl Buggle, provides an in depth look at the sector with a special series of blogs exclusively for Cpl.

Cpl Healthcare’s specialist Social Care division cater solely and exclusively with employers and job seekers operating in this sector. Our team employs social care workers with direct experience in the sector offering our customers, both employers and job seekers, in depth advice, knowledge and recruitment strategies.

In our three part blog series I will offer advice in relation to education, and employment overview and information on further training for social care workers in Ireland.

Our first Blog covers Education


Social Care Workers traditionally were qualified by experience until the mid-1990’s where thereafter various qualifications including Social Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Social Care degrees where accepted as meeting entry criteria. Since the late 2000’s, with input from HIQA and also impending registration by CORU, the only qualification currently sought by employers is an Ordinary or Honours degree in Applied Social Studies in Social Care. Some organisations may not require this specific qualification, however from our experience this is a small percentage of the employment market.

The third level qualification in social care is taught at many of Ireland’s institutes of technology including: Athlone IT, Dundalk IT, Galway Mayo IT, Limerick IT, Cork IT, Tralee IT, Waterford IT, Carlow IT, St Patricks College Carlow, and Dublin IT.

For adults returning to education, Carlow IT has proved to be a popular option with their offering of offsite learning.

There are currently people employed in the social care sector with the previously accepted qualifications of Sociology, Psychology, etc. and also job seekers who have more recently completed some of the associated qualifications who are interested in entering the social care sector or continuing their careers but are now finding they are restricted because of the requirement to possess specifically a social care degree. We are now seeing third level institutions become aware of this education gap and develop typically one year “conversion” programmes, which offer the opportunity to obtain a qualification in Applied Social Studies in Social Care for jobseekers. These are designed for jobseekers that already possess experience and/or similar qualifications in the social care field and wish to further develop their career in this chosen speciality.

A further consideration to gaining the appropriate qualification is the impending registration of social care workers by CORU. CORU is responsible for the registration of all healthcare professionals in Ireland and has already completed the registration of Social Workers. The benefit of registration is a transparent identification of all social care professionals. The process will also determine in a more concrete fashion the education, continuous professional development and accountability expectation in the social care sector.


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