Social work is all about taking care of people. Those involved in this profession work with individuals and families to improve outcome in their lives. They protect insecure people, strengthen relationship and assist families to stay together and enable them to enjoy life to its fullest. Education, probation services and health are essential parts of social work. Social workers work in multiple fields along with health and educational professionals.
Social workers have to work with different types of people such as:
- Disabled children
- Young individuals with mental problems
- People with learning disabilities
- Vulnerable aged people
- People with drug, alcohol or other addictions
- Socially excluded people
- Families with an increased risk of breakdown
- Children living apart from their families
- Young offenders
- People and children who are at the risk of neglect and abuse
The social workers usually divide their works into different cases and deal the case on one at a time basis. Their work involves meeting with the individual or the family who is at the problem; assessing the case; determining the package of supports that individual or family will require and referring to other services or agencies if necessary. Their work also entails detailed recording of cases and participating in team meetings.
The numbers of social workers’ caseloads are increasing and at the same time these are becoming more complex. Proper caseload management and skills will help these workers to effectively perform their duties.
Selecting a social worker career
Many people select a career of social worker with the wish to make a difference in the lives of the needy. They closely work with people and assist them to access various services that they will require. Those who are aspiring to be social workers must have the ability to withstand excessive work pressure. They must know effective time management. These professionals have to note down their case details that will be helpful for other professionals working on the same case.
Most important part of these social workers job is to analyse and understand the best outcome possible for the service users. A social worker has to deal with pain and distress of other people, which can be emotionally demanding. Therefore, if you want to step into this profession you need to be resilient.
Qualifications that will count
Social workers need to possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in social work. Those interested can also gain a Master’s degree in the same discipline. The degree course will help to learn social work, values and ethics. The degree courses emphasise on practical learning also. On the job training has been made a part of these degree courses.
There are different entry requirements for each of the courses. So, you need to research and find out the least requirement in each of the UK institutions. You may also study in the UK’s Open University that run social work programmes.
However, only degrees will not help you to find suitable social work jobs. Along with study, the aspiring candidates have to gain social care or social work experience. Attributes like problem solving ability, excellent communication, working in teams and patience are necessary to work as a social worker.
Different organisations appoint social workers. Many of these professionals work for local government authorities, in different departments that provide services to children and adults. Some of them join NHS Trusts and many other social workers are employed in private sectors or perform voluntary tasks.
Although the salary varies according to location, usually a newly qualified social worker can earn a salary of £ 22,000 per year. This salary can increase up to £ 40,000 per year with additional responsibilities and experience.
Those, who have an intense interest in dealing with people and understand the difficulties in their life, will find this career path interesting.