what is it?
It’s all about enabling people to make choices, take decisions about and improve their lives. Enabling them to participate in their communities. Enabling them to fulfil ambitions and achieve goals.
Social workers work closely with other professionals, including the police, health and education professionals, the independent care sector and voluntary organisations.
Many employers offer opportunities to work alongside qualified Social Workers in assistant or support roles. You’d still be working directly with service users and you don’t need to have a formal Social Work qualification to do these support roles, so it’s a great way to find out if social work is for you.
Starting salaries for social workers can be up to £25k. Some employers offer further incentives to attract your valuable skills. And if you want to go places, there are wide career and promotional opportunities all over the country.
Once you progress to a more senior position, you can expect a salary in excess of £30k. This, together with flexible working and the sheer variety of work, make social work a fulfilling and rewarding professional career choice.
children, young people
You could be working in a local authority social work team, in a partnership organisation such as a Youth Offending Team, for an independent provider or in a children's charity.
The range of work is huge. For example, helping families through problems to enable them to stay together, ensuring young people get appropriate support as they leave care and become independent, or finding fostering or adoption placements. You need knowledge of the statutory duties of child protection and child care law as you assess and arrange responses to the needs of children and their families.
Your role would include assessing a person’s needs and then organising a wide range of services to provide support or to enable that person to have a better quality of life.
Working alongside health professionals and others in the community, this can mean tackling social isolation and addressing issues such as health, housing or benefits.
These days, much emphasis is placed on preventative services, so an ability to be creative and offer innovative solutions to support a person’s well-being to prevent their requiring high level support is much in demand. As with all social work, the goal is to help a person make decisions about and take control of their own life.
Occupational Therapists (OT’s) work with people of all ages to find ways they can carry out ordinary physical activities which have become difficult or impossible, such as getting out of bed or having a bath. This could be due to disability, ill health, traumatic injury, the effects of getting older or a change in circumstances.
The British Association and College of Occupational Therapists website contains information on the profession, the qualifications you need to become a recognised OT practitioner and courses available to potential students.
How do I become a Social Worker?
Social work is a highly skilled profession. You cannot legally Practice as a Social Worker unless you are fully qualified and registered with the General Social Care Council (GSCC).
To find out more about training for social work, contact the GSCC www.gscc.org.uk or the Department of Health’s social work recruitment website: www.socialworkcareers.co.uk
Where can I study?
68 universities in England offer the new degree-level professional qualification in social work, including several either in Somerset or its neighbouring counties.
Click here for more information:
How will I learn?
You’ll mix academic studies with loads of practical experience on student placements where you’ll undertake real casework alongside qualified social workers. In Somerset, we work closely with local learning institutions to offer numerous student placements every year.
Click here to find out information about bursaries and other financial support to enable you to train to be a Social Worker: www.socialworkcareers.co.uk
In addition, many employers provide financial support to either current or future employees taking a Social Work degree.
There are many organisations which recruit social workers in Somerset. Most employers will advertise vacancies in the local press and/or trade journals such as Community Care: www.communitycare.co.uk
If you are interested in working for the local authority (including the Somerset Youth Offending Team), please contact Somerset County Council’s Recruitment Team on:
01823 356209 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org