A DRIVE to recruit more people to work in the `caring careers' was launched by the Government today.
The Health Department said its data showed there was a growing interest in social work and social care jobs.
Its national recruitment information line has received more than 160,000 calls since May, 2002 - with 40,000 of these inquiries in 2005.
Seven out of 10 of those who asked about social care work had gained work in the professions or were looking for a suitable vacancy.
And more than 4,000 people started the new social work degree in 2004 after it was launched three years ago.
This means the sector will get its first intake of graduates this year.
The department said research showed that a key obstacle to recruiting social workers and care staff was the lack of public understanding about what they do.
A wave of TV, Press and radio ads in February and March will show the diversity of careers and the benefits to workers.
Last week the Government announced plans to register, train and vet more than 750,000 care workers in England.