Career Clinic: working in sheltered housing

Q:  I am a sheltered housing scheme manager. The authority I work for locates our service in the single assessment service, so I carry out the same assessments as care managers and social workers. I have a post graduate certificate in management. I want to continue working with older people but wondered what career options would be open to me and what training would be required?

A: You have a good range of transferable skills with knowledge of the sector and management. If it’s line management that appeals to you, try having a conversation with your line manager to find out what additional training or experience you may need and what management opportunities are available within your organisation.

Getting to know a range of job roles in your organisation and the skills required can help determine where your interest may lie.

If an alternative to the traditional management route appeals to you, explore whether your skills would suit other roles. For example, you could go on to become a project support worker, supporting the area manager and scheme staff by working on specific projects or initiatives. There are also roles such as activity adviser, which is a service improvement role, that involves working with scheme managers and tenants to develop person-centred activities.

A positive way to enhance your profile would be to volunteer to become involved in projects. This could involve gaining experience of other parts of your organisation and help improve their people skills to carry out their review work.

Alternatively, you may want to consider moving into residential care and looking at some of the career options available to you in that sector. If you had care qualifications, you could consider a move into a home manager role. Because of the level of responsibility in this role, the salaries can be more attractive while the role allows for a greater level of interaction with the residents.

In the residential care sector, there are also opportunities to progress to area manager, project home manager or work in a particular area of expertise such as a dementia or care specialist.

You have developed some strong people management skills through your work and your business management qualification.

An option you might want to consider is a move into training. Although this will lessen the interaction you will have with the clients, it’s a great opportunity to use your skills to train front line staff to provide excellent service to older people. At Anchor Homes, our trainers go out into the company and train staff on topics such as safeguarding adults, dementia and service-user plans.

Emma Findlay, people development manager, Anchor Trust.

26 march question:

I am 62 years old and retired from a job as a senior social worker at a leading children’s charity two years ago. I have found it difficult to adjust to retirement and have been thinking for some time about returning to the workforce, perhaps on a part-time basis. I have seen stories about a shortage of children’s practitioners, but fear employers may see me as being too old and my skills out of date. Are there job opportunities for people like me? Cynthia, Horsham

We will answer this question in the 26 March issue of Community Care. We want to publish your advice too – please send it to by 19 March.

• Do you have your own career dilemma? Send your comments or questions to

This article first appeared in the 12 March edition of Community Care

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