Muhiz Ali

Social Work BSc (Hons)

Muhiz was inspired to study Social Work from a young age and arrived at BCU as the first one in his family to attend university. A decade after graduating, Muhiz has excelled in his chosen industry, now working as a qualified and experienced Social Worker in Birmingham, alongside supporting current students in their work placement opportunities.

“I wanted to study Social Work from a young age. We had Career Advisors in secondary school, who would explain about different careers, what routes we could take and what certain jobs entail. Social Work was one of the jobs that really appealed to me.

When I was looking at different universities, BCU was a great option for me. I was the first one in my family to go to university, so I liked how it wasn’t far from home, the staff explained things in a really good way, and it was just very friendly place too. I liked the whole feel of BCU, and the open days were really helpful to attend too. I started in 2009, and finally graduated in 2012.

Ten years on, after leaving BCU, I’m still working as Social Worker, so it was the best decision for me. Nowadays, I work for Birmingham City Council as a qualified, experienced Social Worker. I’m also a Practice Educator, so essentially, I've got two roles. I'm a front-line Social Worker, which I love as I really enjoy working with people. I work with adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health issues.

I have also done a specialism, and in my role as a Practice Educator, I work with students and often take them on for placements, including both second and final year students, and even occasionally master’s students too. I help to supervise, teach, assess students and see their practice, and decide whether they're ready to work in Social Work.

The role of a Social Worker has changed significantly in the time I have been in practice. When I started at university, budget cuts were having a big impact across the UK, especially within Birmingham as one of the largest authorities. A lot about the work, even aspects like paperwork, staffing and processes, has changed quite a lot. We’ve had to do a lot of work around how we can support citizens of Birmingham. The services we can offer clients now are more designed to the residents of Birmingham.

You really have to be a certain kind of person to be a Social Worker. Me and my colleagues, who qualified at the same time from the same BCU cohort, said to each other in our first few months of the job that we didn’t know how we were even going to be able to do the job for a year. Now it’s 10 years on, and we often laugh about us not believing we could do it back then. We’re still here and we’re still doing it! If you just do what you need to do and continue to learn as you progress through the job, you will get through it. There are new learnings on every single case, but it does get easier.

Of course, it can be a really difficult job. It takes a lot of your time and a huge amount of your commitment too. But it can also be very rewarding and enjoyable. I still love my job, and I continue to get a real thrill out of it.

I’ve inspired many others around me to go to university, and even to find out more about Social Work too. Before university, I didn’t have many Social Work connections, and no one to give me a true, honest reflection of what my day-to-day responsibilities would be. Everything I learned and the connections I made were at BCU and on various work placements.

When on work placement, almost everyone told me that it could, at times, be a difficult job to do. They told me that I needed to be super organized, that things can take a long time to resolve and that there is a huge amount of paperwork involved. That really helped me to prepare from a professional point of view. So, when anyone asks me about my job now, I give them the similar advice. It’s good to be honest with people so that they can prepare well for the role.

Outside of work, I purchased my own home so I’m now on the property ladder, and I recently got married too. I also enjoy playing badminton every week with my closest friends. I think it’s really important to have a good work-life balance. Sometimes you’ll have urgent cases which you will have to work hard on, so it’s really important to have fun things to do outside of work.

My advice to current Social Work students would be to study hard whilst at university and attend all of your lectures so you don’t miss out on any learning. I also advise students to be on top of the current legislation. It’s a huge part of being a Social Worker and you need to know how UK law works, so take the time to learn it when you can, as it’ll make your future job much easier.

I’d also recommend getting as much work experience as possible, get yourself out there and meet new people too. There’s no harm in asking questions and knowing the answers is going to always benefit you in the future.”