Going back to work after maternity leave can often feel like you’re starting out right back at the beginning of your career, especially if you weren’t working before your pregnancy, or you decided not to return to your previous employer. 
Doing some sort of formal education or training is often a very good idea, as it will give you a good foundation to get back on the career ladder. Qualifications in health and social care are often one of the most popular choices for women after looking after young children, because the desire to care for others is still very much there. Add to that the flexible hours in healthcare that can wrap around childcare, the school run and a spouse or partner’s working hours and it’s a win-win.

Let’s take a look at where a qualification lime an NVQ in health and social care might take you.

First things first, an NVQ in Health and Social care is all about learning and proving you have the skills to care for people of a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. With numerous reasons for this, including their physical health, mental health or social situation. There are several different areas of study that are required, including things like biology and nutrition, but also the legal side of things in terms of what standards of living people are entitled to etc.

As you might expect, all of these different components of study mean that once you’ve completed such a qualification, you’ll have a good base for a variety of different positions, ranging hugely in speciality. Here are three potential routes that you might end up taking:

Social worker

As a social worker, you’d be in your role with the aim of improving the general wellbeing and quality of life for families or individual adults and children. Again, there are numerous specialities, but the main aims are generally the same. This often involves working in the community to ensure that living standards are appropriate, and often that children are being properly cared for.


Counselling is all about listening to people who’ve got problems, whether with their health or environment, and an NVQ in Health and Social care will train you to understand how to be empathetic and help people work through their problems.


At the higher end of the pay and responsibility scale, some of those who do a NVQ in Health and Social Care may well decide to go on and do considerable further study and become doctors. This is a long route of education, and the NVQ will be a stepping stone, but the option is there if you so desire.

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