Learn about finding and applying for social worker jobs and work in the community

Being a social worker is a specialised vocation that comes under healthcare, and they can be classed as public sector jobs. It is important to note that before an applicant applies for any social worker jobs they should understand that they will be working in difficult surrounding’s with vulnerable people from society, many with chronic problems ranging from alcoholism to psychological problems. The work is very different from many other types of work in the public service, and can be emotionally draining, as you will be closely involved in people’s lives.

Job description
For those looking for jobs in social work, there are many fields to choose from. For instance you could work with children or adults. Your job will be essentially involve you in working with vulnerable people from diverse backgrounds and helping to diagnose, prevent and care for them within the community. Some of these people may have be mentally ill, or have learning difficulties, you will be responsible for assessing them and organising care for them. This could mean you having to make home visits or hospital visits or even attend juvenile courts.

You can work for a number of different employers ranging from a local authority to a voluntary organisation or a national social care provider. The NHS also advertise many qualified social worker jobs regularly, with them you will be working mostly in hospitals and primary care centres. You will also be responsible for case management keeping updated records of your clients or patients and also writing reports and submitting them to senior managers.

Many social worker vacancies will stipulate in their job adverts that you will be working in partnership with other statutory agencies, like the probation service or local schools. You could be working from a variety of different locations, you could be in a office or be based in hospices for homeless people.

On a personal level you should have a thoughtful caring personality as you have to be sympathetic to peoples problems. Having good communication skills is essential, and you must be a good listener. Being patient when dealing with complex situation and bureaucracy s also a must, as well as having the ability to work as part of a team.

Working hours
The working hours are not fixed, and can be very irregular. If you are staying at a social worker hospice, then you may be expected to work evenings or nigh shifts and even weekends.

Qualifications and training
If this type of work appeals to you then you must complete a social worker degree, this is normally a three years full time course. Legislation introduced in 2003 means that this is now a degree-entry profession. Once you have successfully completed your universitydegree then you have to register with the General Social Care Council [address below].

Anyone can apply for social worker training, as long as they have no criminal convictions and are security cleared to work with children etc. It is a field where age is not a barrier, you will find that many social worker jobs adverts will mention that mature applicants are welcome. Local authority employers are keen to encourage social workers from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds, as well as different age groups.
Social workers are considered to be professionals in their jobs, and indeed there are many qualifications and training courses that a prospective must regularly go on to continue working professionally and progress in their careers.

Alternatively you could see if there are any employment routes offered by local authorities into social care. Some council’s run trainee social worker scheme initiatives that allows you to be trained into the job vacancies. These may also be funding packages available for you, so it is worth investigating those as well.

Another option for those already in employment in a different field and who do not have the time for full time university degree course’s, is to do a Open University degree.

Starting salary
Initially upon graduation and on obtaining your social worker degree you will find that your starting salary is not that high compared to other professions. However once you have more experience then your wages will also increase.
The starting salary for a recently qualified social worker is between  £20,000 to £23,000.

Further information:

General Social Care Council
Goldings House
2 Hays Lane
Tel: 0207 397 5800
Web: www.gscc.org.uk

British Association of Social Workers
16 Kent Street
B5 6RD
Telephone: 0121 622 3911
Website: www.basw.co.uk

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