A campaign has been launched to recruit another 20,000 social care workers in Wales over the next 10 years.
The ageing population in Wales and relatively older workforce are two factors for the expected demand.
The jobs will include care workers in people’s own homes, workers in residential care and more nurses.
The WeCare.Wales campaign also aims to increase public understanding about what care work involves.
Over 80s in Wales
The number of elderly people over the age of 80 is predicted to increase by 44% in Wales by 2030.
There are currently about 113,000 people in the social care sector.
There is a perception that the work is low paid and pressured with long hours and demanding schedules.
The body responsible for regulating and developing the workforce said it wanted to show the jobs were “invaluable to our every day life” and hopes they will be thought more highly of.
Sue Evans, chief executive of Social Care Wales, said: “Terms and conditions are obviously a factor. One of the things our research has told us though is that once you’re in the sector, people find it a really rewarding career and stay because of the values it gives them, helping people live a better life.
“We can’t compete with other industries that may pay more but there’s a real lack of understanding out there about what the roles are. A major part of our campaign is actually improving understanding.”
Ms Evans said there was a breadth of work which would be needed, from frontline social and care work to befriending, housing liaison, occupational therapy and budget management.
As well as supporting adults, there is also a need for more childcare and early years workers are needed as the Welsh Government rolls out its 30-hour free childcare package.
‘You get a real buzz from it’
Tracy Martin-Smith, a senior sensory officer in Haverfordwest, works with blind people of all ages to help with skills and mobility.
She said she gets a lot of job satisfaction from seeing how people’s lives can be improved.
Ms Martin-Smith added: “The oldest person I’ve worked with is 105. I like working with people and I think it’s one of those areas that you start working in sensory loss and you get a real buzz from it. And I really like seeing people out and about.”
Retired physiotherapist Annette Peter is blind.
She has received support from the sensory needs service and she helps Ms Martin-Smith teach Braille along with other training around the county.
She also attends social groups with other people who have sight loss.
“These are particularly useful for people losing their sight later in life as it gives them a chance to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do and go to places they wouldn’t ordinarily go to,” said Ms Peter.
“A lot of people might be quite isolated and people can lose their confidence when they lose their sight so these groups are very important for them.
“People often pick my brains so they can learn how to cope with things they think they can’t do anymore, but actually they can.”