I want to be a Social Worker. Where do I Start?

If your just setting out in your career as a Social Worker and currently looking for jobs in social services or an experienced Social Worker looking for new opportunities, look no further.

We have compiled some information here on what social work entails and what a career in social services can involve.

Part of the job: Social Worker in an office environment

Why get into Social Work?

Well one would hope that it is because you want to ‘make a difference’. Social care jobs can be emotionally demanding  but it is intensely rewarding to realize that you can sometimes make  a positive difference to someone’s life. There are many other benefits to being a social worker in the UK, read on to find out more…

How do I get into Social Work?

All social workers in the UK must be trained and qualified with a Degree in Social Work. People wanting to undertake the degree need to show they have some experience in social work jobs prior to studying. Whether this is achieved through voluntary work, paid work or life experience it is essential to starting the course.

The course will teach you all about social work:  legislation, ethics and values. Most importantly you will have a 200 day placement which is essential for putting the theory you have learned into practice.

Where can I work?

There are opportunities for social workers right across the UK, so you can pretty much chose exactly where you want to live and work. Many employers in rural locations, such as Wales, are increasingly aware that if they are to attract good quality recruits that they need to start offering salaries and benefits commensurate with those offered by organisations based in inner cities. This makes social work jobs in Wales more attractive than ever before.

Social worker and young adults sat down on a Pembrokeshire beach

Some of the bodies that take on Social Workers:

  • social service departments of local authorities in England and Wales;
  • social work departments in Scotland;
  • health and social service trusts in Northern Ireland;
  • primary care/health service trusts;
  • GP practices;
  • hospitals and hospices;
  • private sector nursing homes;
  • voluntary and independent agencies.

What will I do as Social Worker?

  • undertaking and writing up assessments (often with medical staff), which meet specified standards and timescales;
  • conducting interviews with service users and their families to assess and review their situation;
  • offering information and counselling support to service users and their families;
  • organising and managing packages of support to enable service users to lead the fullest lives possible;
  • recommending and sometimes making decisions about the best course of action for a particular service user;
  • liaising with, and making referrals to, other agencies;
  • participating in multidisciplinary teams and meetings regarding, for example, child protection or mental health;
  • maintaining accurate records and preparing reports for legal action;
  • giving evidence in court;
  • participating in training, supervision and team meetings.

Settings vary depending on the employer.

Who will I work with as a Social Worker?

Many social workers work with young people and their families. They may also work with the following groups:

  • young offenders and school non-attenders;;
  • people with mental health conditions;
  • drug and alcohol abusers;
  • people with learning and physical disabilities;
  • the homeless;
  • the elderly.

There is currently a shortage of qualified social workers, especially in children’s and family services.

Social Worker Picking a Young Boy Up From School

What are the benefits?

With many different organisations offering incentives to fill social services job vacancies you really can pick and choose as you have some very sought after skills. For example you can get up to £7000 towards the cost of relocating for Pembrokeshire County Council jobs in Social Services and enjoy the relaxed rural lifestyle living in the UK’s only coastal national park.

There are some other things that are good to know too; jobs in social care have very attractive salaries, pension schemes, training and development plans and allow you to enjoy a good quality of life.

Ultimately….

Social work can be an immensely rewarding career. Increased recognition from employers across the UK that they need to offer competitive salary and benefits packages in order to attract good quality social workers. This means that you can pretty much have your pick of where to live and work, including many attractive rural locations where you can strike the perfect balance between a fulfilling career and fantastic lifestyle.

Sources: www.prospects.ac.uk | www.jobs-in-socialcare.co.uk | www.basw.co.uk

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