If you have been working as a social worker, you may be interested in progressing your career by applying for social work team manager jobs.
What does a team manager do?
As a team manager, some of your responsibilities will include:
- guiding and supporting their colleagues
- assigning team members to specific tasks according to business needs and their skills.
It is the first step into management, and means an increase in salary commensurate with greater responsibility.
How do social workers become team managers?
Team managers must first be qualified social workers, registered with the Health Care Profession Council. There are two main pathways for social workers to become social work team managers by:
- working in a social work role for a considerable period of time (usually around five years), or
- working towards a management qualification
The Leadership for Health and Social Care qualification (City and Guilds) takes 2-3 years to complete, so candidates with an eye to future promotion are advised to register as early as possible in their career. Many candidates progress onto the course to build their managerial skills after one year of employment as social workers.
Team leaders often deal with budgets, so it is helpful if candidates can demonstrate some understanding of finance to successfully achieve and maintain a team leadership position. Many candidates will have achieved GCSE passes in Maths which are required to enter University, but other mature student candidates may have been exempted from these requirements. If you have managed budgets (even household ones) or attended adult maths or access courses at local colleges, do highlight them. These will demonstrate equivalence and competence in financial management.
Social work professionals often encounter the need for change in their work – new policies, procedures, structures, staffing or settings – and team leaders and managers will need to manage such changes. Candidates for team management jobs should be able to implement change, as directed by management, in a swift and effective manner. Therefore, demonstrating some experience of change management, or an ability to manage change and service improvement, is invaluable. Such experiences, skills and capabilities will be documented in a social worker’s personal file or service record, but certainly needs to be mentioned in recruitment processes. Highlight your change management capabilities in your CV, application form, covering letter, and during the job interview.
The team manager role is supervisory in nature, so candidates should demonstrate that they can be effective supervisors. If you have been working as an ordinary social worker with no requirement to supervise staff, you may initially wonder how you can demonstrate this, but any supervisory experience can work in a candidate's favour – supervising colleagues, trainees, volunteers, or even service users. You may have voluntary or previous work experience not necessarily related to social care that can be used to demonstrate transferable skills. Think about your past experiences and skills you can bring to the role you are applying for.
The ability to build positive working relationships and to build rapport are pre-requisites of being a social worker, especially for those working with children and their families. Candidates for social work team manager jobs will also need to build effective relationships – both external to the organisation – with voluntary agencies, CQC, education and leisure services, service users and families – and internal, with your staff and managers. Protocols on information sharing and communication exist and should be adhered to, cascaded to your team members, and monitored. With increasing joint working and multi-agency approaches, building good relationships with clear communication, roles and responsibilities is important.