Public health, social care and childcare services

An apprenticeship in public health, social care or childcare services offers the gateway to a rewarding career that can really make a difference. Roles in public health help support the most vulnerable members of society and the general population.
Ash – Public Health Apprentice, Bristol City Council

What’s an apprenticeship in public health, social care and childcare services?

There is a constant, and ever increasing, demand for the services offered by the public health, social care and childcare services sector. The services provided are vital across the country and workforce shortages put the population’s most vulnerable at risk. Apprenticeships ensure the sector continues with a skilled workforce that will bring the positive changes needed in the population.

Public health, social care and childcare services are all careers where people, health and the best interests of individuals in the community are at the centre of every role and project. You might aspire to run your own early years day nursery or perhaps you’d love to head up a charity or work with vulnerable people to help make their lives better. There are also opportunities to be involved in policy-making and driving positive change in communities.

Sophie England – Level 6 BSc Public Health Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship, Bristol City Council

“This is a brand new apprenticeship and being on the first cohort feels exciting as we do get the chance to give feedback and potentially shape it for apprentices in the future. I really like that I have a new way to get a degree without being in a classroom all the time.”

Rachel Metcalfe – Public Health Programmes and Partnership Manager, Bristol City Council

"We’re looking for apprentices who can think outside the box and who are passionate about making positive changes in people’s lives. If you can show you’ve researched and understand issues around equality and diversity, there’s a role for you in this sector.”

Facts and stats

Average salary
The average salary across public health, social care and childcare services in the UK is £32,9961.
Industry trends
Over 82,000 people started an apprenticeship in health, public services and care in 2019/20202.
Working in public health provides the opportunity to work at local, regional, national and international levels.
1.48 million people currently work in the social care sector in the UK3.
There are many public health apprenticeships available, whether you want to be a social worker, public health practitioner, project managers, carer or something else entirely.
Industry growth
The demand for social care workers is expected to rise in line with the UK’s ageing population, with a need for up to 950,000 new adult social care jobs by 20354.

Who would suit an apprenticeship?

There are a vast number of different roles in this sector and depending on the route you choose, roles could include housing officer, care worker, health and safety officer, welfare officer, social worker or public health manager.

Employers in this sector vary enormously, from the NHS to the Prison and Probation service to local authorities and private care homes. Many charities such as Age Concern, Mencap, YMCA, alongside schools, colleges and nurseries offer apprenticeships in public health, social and childcare services.

An apprenticeship in this sector would be a good choice for you if you have a passion for helping people, an aptitude for solving problems, have great communication skills and are seeking a career that will be both meaningful and rewarding.

Apprenticeships in public health, social and childcare services are available at all levels in many different disciplines. With such a wide range of options available, it’s essential to check the individual vacancies for details.

Chris Taylor – Level 6 Social Worker Integrated Degree Apprenticeship, Walsall Council

“Social work is a vocation and you’re a social worker 24 hours a day, not just when you’re at work. Ultimately, it comes down to your core values. You know it’s going to be challenging and hard work but the difference you can make far outweighs any of that.”

Jess Hellier – Level 6 BSc Public Health Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship, Bristol City Council

"No two days are the same here as we get the opportunity to move around and work on different projects. Some days I might be researching and other days I could be out in the community actually speaking to the people we’re trying to help. At the moment I’m delivering mental health workshops and part of that will be assessing the effectiveness of those."

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  • You can make positive changes in people's lives.
  • It’s a sector that puts people at the centre of every project or service.
  • No two days are the same, so there’s plenty of variety.
  • You’ll need to be able to cope with having difficult conversations.
  • Programmes in public health are still being shaped and developed.
  • You could be dealing with emotional situations.

Why choose an apprenticeship?

Many of the skills required to excel in this sector can’t be developed through classroom learning alone and this makes an apprenticeship an important pathway to a career in public health, social and childcare services. You’ll be exposed to a number of different real-life situations during your apprenticeship, and these will build your experience and confidence in communicating with empathy and understanding.

There are sometimes difficult conversations, but you just have to learn to listen to what people need.

Chris Taylor, Apprentice at Walsall Council

As an apprentice, you’ll not only gain valuable on the job experience, but you’ll be supported to gain a recognised qualification that will be valuable in the future. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn from, and be supported by, more experienced colleagues as you learn how to navigate your new career.

The sector can be demanding, both physically and mentally, and the support of your employer, and colleagues can be invaluable on both a personal and professional level.

Our apprentices see first-hand how the work they do actually makes a difference in the population and peoples’ lives.

Rachel Metcalfe, Employer at Bristol City Council

Industry top tips

Watch our top tips on how to get into public health from Ash, an apprentice at Bristol City Council.

How do you start an apprenticeship?