You’re interested in improving the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society by becoming a social worker, but do you know about the range of specialisms and settings that you could end up working in once your course is complete?
And remember, this is just a taste of the opportunities on offer...
Following your first post and approximately two years post-qualifying experience, there are opportunities to progress to a Senior Practitioner post in social work. This is usually a blend of very complex casework, supervisory responsibilities and managing some aspects of services such as a duty team or safeguarding cases. Such experience can eventually lead to positions at more senior management level.
Other Senior Practitioners who have an interest in training and development become Practice Educators responsible for supporting and assessing social work students during their placements.
Best interest assessor
There are specialist social work roles that require postgraduate training and qualifications. Best Interest Assessors undertake Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding assessments under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Social Work Team Managers lead, motivate, nurture and manage a team of Social Workers that will include experienced staff and newly qualified workers. They do so by managing performance and quality assurance, resources and budgets, in collaboration with others and key stakeholders.
Hospital Social Workers
On a very basic level, hospital social workers act as a liaison for patients so that the patient and their family can better navigate the healthcare system, which can sometimes be quite confusing. Hospital social workers are a primary point of contact for patients and their families about policies, procedures, and services both in the hospital and after the patient’s discharged either to their own home or into another care setting.
Mental Health Social Workers
Mental health social workers use talking therapy, support, and advocacy to enable people to manage the social factors in their lives, such as relationships, housing, and employment, that will help them to get well and stay well. By building resilience in individuals, their networks, and their communities, mental health social workers can help transform people’s wellbeing.
Fostering and Adoption Social Worker
Fostering and adoption social workers spend much of their time visiting families in their homes. The primary role of fostering and adoption social workers is to recruit, assess and support prospective foster carers and adoptive parents and investigate their suitability to look after and bring up children.
Child Protection Social Worker
On a day to day basis, child protection social workers are responsible for investigating any allegations of child abuse, endangerment, neglect, or other circumstances in which a child or children may not be safe in their current living situation. The ability to create and maintain a helpful relationship with children, families and professionals that prioritises the need of the child or young person is essential for a good child protection social worker. It is likely you will be managing a caseload where you are working with a range of personal differences as well as with many sectors in institutional public life, such as the courts, the police, health, education, immigration, housing and community and voluntary organisations.
Family Court Adviser
As a Family Court Adviser for Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) you would work directly with vulnerable children and families, to advise the family courts on the best course of action for the child or young person. At the heart of this you will provide case analysis and recommendations to the court.