Looking after others is a vital part of being a social worker. You will be helping those people in society who most need it - vulnerable children and adults, people at risk of abuse and families in difficulties. It’s an extremely challenging but rewarding role.
How to become a social worker.
Day to day as a social worker.
Life as a social worker is very varied and can present you with a myriad of different situations. While it is partly an office-based role, working around 37 hours a week, you’ll often find yourself out in the field dealing with many diverse situations.
Visits to family homes are frequent and you might have to work weekends and additional hours dealing with unexpected situations – domestic violence and emergency fostering, for example.
You’ll offer support to people, helping them through their problems typically assessing, counselling and offering advice. You’ll also arrange the appropriate help where necessary.
Qualifications and experience needed in social work jobs.
Training to be a social worker is rigorous and you’ll need an approved degree in social work of at least 2:2 or higher.
A social work degree is not to be taken lightly – there’s a lot of hard work involved and you will gain lots of practical as well as classroom experience to prepare you for the role.
Having GCSEs in English and maths is also very important.
Fact: social workers can earn up to £40,000 a year but need a degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council
Having a degree is vital but there are plenty of soft skills:
- Patience and ability to remain calm
- Strong communication skills
- Ability to listen and understand
- Analytical skills
- Good organisational skills
There aren’t many professions that will make you jump for joy one minute and cry frustrated tears the next. The kind of person who excels in social work is someone who is compassionate, caring and can deal with those highs and lows.
You’re going to be helping others so a strong ability to empathise and show understanding about their struggles is a must. Remember, the people you’ll be working with are often going through some seriously tough times and you’re a major source of support for them.
You also need to be able to take the knocks in social work – sometimes you will see and hear things that can be very distressing.
Being a social worker opens countless doors. You can apply for work with local authorities, NHS trusts, adoption agencies, children’s and nursing homes, GP surgeries and independent agencies to name a few.
You can choose to specialise in a particular area such as child protection, adoption, substance abuse or working with the elderly. Most social workers are part of a public organisation but as you gain experience you could work as an independent practitioner.
- Social work degree essential
- High challenging yet rewarding role
- Opportunities for specialising
- Work with adults or children with various needs
Make a difference, become a social worker – you’ll be actively helping some of the most vulnerable members of society and giving real meaning the to phrase “making a difference”.