When you’re looking at careers, whether it’s as an inexperienced teenager looking for a direction for the future or an unsatisfied adult looking for a change, social work is something that really deserves your consideration. Due to the constant and growing need for social workers you can rely on having a career at the end of your training, which is a sense of security not afforded to many people in 2018! You also have the ultimate reward of, despite the issues of stress and under-resourcing, job satisfaction: you know that at the end of the day you have made a difference to people that really need you.
Before you can begin looking for social worker jobs you will need to qualify as a social worker and today we’re looking at ways we can make that happen!
If you’ve not taken a degree before, this is a great option for you. Not only do you get the full university experience while studying a vocational degree that’s a pathway to a career, there are also various funding options for you to ensure that you don’t come out of your studies as burdened by debt as others. This can be an important consideration as many social work courses last four years rather than the more usual three.
If you’ve already completed a degree in another discipline, one of the routes open to you is to take a postgraduate course, over one or two years and equipping you with the vital skills you need to begin your career.
If your original degree wasn’t in a related subject like medicine or law, you may well have to demonstrate some work experience to support your application, as you won’t be able to start as a total beginner.
On the Job Training
Various schemes exist for people with relevant experience but not qualifications to enter the social work profession with a practical frontline course, similar to the Teach First programme.
This is a good option for those with some experience of similar work, whether professional or volunteer, but as with Teach First it can be very daunting. It both throws you in at the deep end and lets you sink or swim.
Whichever route you choose, you’ll need to do your research. ‘Social worker’ as a professional title is protected by the HCPC – the Health and Care Professions Council. They assess and endorse courses of study and training, and only those they’ve approved will entitle you to register and work as a social worker when you complete them, so check with the HCPC first that your course is approved!