Social Care CLE Guide

Once you have successfully passed your course and become a registered professional (nurse associate, nurse or allied health professional) you have a wide range of career opportunities open to you. 

If you have completed a placement in social care you will have an enhanced understanding of social care and experience of working with a wide range of other care and health professionals in a community setting. 

  • You could join the amazing nurse associates, nurses and AHPs working in social care in Greater Manchester in a variety of social care settings.
  • As you become more experienced you may choose to progress your career into a senior or specialised role.

Here are some of the senior roles you could develop into and some career stories from local professionals who have done the same


  • Unit Manager/Lead 
  • Registered Manager 
  • Social Services Manager/Service Development Manager


  • Programme Manager
  • Commissioner
  • Department of Health and Social Care roles
  • Local Government Association role
  • Association for the Directors of Adult Social Care roles
  • Voluntary Sector roles e.g. Skills For Care Locality Manager
  • Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership roles
  • Workforce planning and development


  • Lecturer
  • Researcher
  • Project or Programme Manager
  • Practice Education Lead

Quality and Assurance

  • Quality Assurance/Quality Lead
  • Care Quality Commission roles

Clinical and senior/specialist clinical

  • Lead Social Care Nurse
  • Integrated roles e.g. Nursing in Drug and Alcohol service, Discharge Team
  • Allied Health Professional
  • Nurse 
  • Nurse Associate
  • Clinical Lead 

Please note: This is not an exhaustive list of potential roles.

After gaining experience in social care, you can take your career in many different directions!

Add link to Careers  Stories and Resources pages 

Rowena Bolton: Home Manager, Cheadle Manor Care Home in Stockport 

Rowena qualified in 1995 as one of the first Project 2000 diploma nurses and then worked for the NHS before moving into care homes in 2007.  She has worked in a clinical lead role since 2017. Her background and passions are within stroke care, end of life care and looking after people living with dementia.

Career Stories  

Gail Howard, Registered Manager, Lakeside Care Home 

Gail started her journey as an unpaid personal carer. She then went to study nursing and worked part time in a care home as a student as well as undertaking her various placements. After qualifying Gail worked in a variety of settings which included palliative care, working with young adults with challenging behaviours and complex needs such as drugs, alcohol, Huntington’s disease and learning disabilities. In her current role in adult nursing care she works with individuals with complex clinical care needs such as those with motor neuron disease, strokes, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and dementia. 

Melissa Stanton RGN,  Lead Nurse Independent Health and Social Care, Royal College of Nursing North West Region

As an RCN member and Registered Adult Nurse with over 20 years’ experience working within Health and Social Care, I chose to become a Nurse following in my late Grandmothers footsteps. I have always had a strong desire to build on best practice and drive change to improve outcomes for the people we care for.

Like many professionals, I started my career in the NHS. I knew little about the Independent Sector at that time as it wasn’t heavily promoted by the university or associated networks. After 4 years of working in the NHS an Independent Sector employer approached me with an opportunity to enhance my existing skillset and develop as a healthcare leader. Gathering additional knowledge within Community Complex Care, Clinical Teaching, Domiciliary Care and Agency Nursing I worked hard to become a National Complex Care Manager for a well-known Independent Sector employer.

Having moved from Birmingham to Manchester I progressed my career within care homes. The first care home I managed had an embargo with regulatory conditions for operation. The home had a lot of negative press and was about to close. Being the forever optimist, I said I would make positive changes for the people living there and one day leave the home with a waiting list. I did just that and 3 years later had an additional skill set for crisis management in care homes. Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed the wealth of opportunities with care home providers to create and embed positive change. As a very family focused environment, care homes will always have a special place in my heart personally and professionally.

In August 2022 I commenced post as an RCN Officer. It gave me additional skills in the management of employee relations and a greater understanding of both Trade Unions and Professional Bodies. When I heard about the Lead Nurse post being advertised, I was very excited as I felt my skills and experience would be a perfect fit for the role and a true representation of the sector. Securing the role in December 2022, one of my key priorities was to initially meet with the newly formed Integrated Care Boards and understand each regions key objectives and timescales for delivery. The Health and Care Act 2022 enabled a collaborative approach for organisations such as the NHS, Local Government, and wider system partners like the Independent Sector employers to work together. I was delighted when the Integrated Care Boards were formed creating Integrated Care Partnerships thus amplifying the voice of the Independent Sector. The newly formed Social Care Nurse Advisory Councils (SCNAC) Leads within my region are testament to how our sector is now beginning to get the recognition it deserves. Working with all the Integrated Care Partners will make positive change for both the existing workforce and the future care givers.

“Being in a social care environment gave me a lot more choice in my career.  I wasn’t necessarily constrained by professional pathways and I’ve had some great employers that supported me along my journey”

Jez started work as in a care assistant role in a Learning Disability (LD) & Mental Health service after leaving school with few qualifications. He then went on to study to become a LD Nurse because he soon realised that was his area of interest.  He trained within an NHS old fashioned institutional setting and admitted, back then, it was in a very negative experience in a dehumanising environment.  

When Jez finished his training there weren’t any local jobs within the NHS that weren’t in institutional settings and so Jez used his area of specialism to work in behavioural support with children (and later adults) within a local authority.  He then became a manager of a resettlement scheme involved in the closure of the very hospital where he had trained!

After that Jez managed independent sector provider services in social care as a registered manager with a special interest in complex needs.  From there he took a role within commissioning services as he wanted to see the other side of the coin.  He was involved with one of the very first integrated locality teams between social care, nursing and housing which was quite ground-breaking at that time!  After 7 years in public sector management roles he realised that it wasn’t an environment which gave him the freedom to develop his interests and he then became a director of a learning disability service before deciding to go into self-employment as a project manager to accommodate his personal circumstances as a foster carer. During this time Jez managed to squeeze in part time study for an MSc in Leadership.

Once his caring duties allowed, Jez went to work  in extra-care and sheltered housing development before joining Skills for Care as a locality manager for the Northwest of England where he remains today.

When asked to reflect upon his incredible journey Jez said he gained the most satisfaction from supporting and enabling others with their career journeys and seeing people achieve goals they may have felt were beyond their reach.  Although he started his career in nursing, he said that working within social care had given him a lot more choice than he would have had if he had have stayed within the NHS. However, he recognises that LD Nursing is a lot more valued now than it was when he started his career, and that today’s nurses have more opportunities that he ever had as a newly qualified nurse in the 1980s. 

Jez concludes by saying that he has had a variety of job roles along the way but has always focussed on things that have interested him and excited him.  He never felt defined as a nurse although that gave him a set of skills and knowledge that could be used as a launch pad to other things. Jez joined Skills for Care in 2018 as he wanted to use his knowledge and experience to support providers and other stakeholders to address some of the challenges they face. 

Jez says his role is hard to describe but is basically about engagement with providers and stakeholders to make sure they benefit from Skills for Care’s work, and to bring people together to facilitate collaboration and cooperation. The role gives him a lot of job satisfaction and the opportunity to work with some great people and organisations across Greater Manchester. 

Jez Ashdown – Locality Manager (North West) – Skills for Care