NAME: AFZAL AHMED, 38
DEGREE: ELECTRONICS MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF MIDDLESEX; DIPLOMA IN SOCIAL CARE, UNIVERSITY OF LUTON
OCCUPATION: FREELANCE TEAM MANAGER/SOCIAL WORKER (LEAVING CARE TEAM)
What do you do in your job?
After gaining my diploma I worked in child protection for the boroughs of Bedfordshire and Camden, where I progressed from a social worker to a senior practitioner and finally to a manager. After gaining experience in these roles I decided to become a freelance team manager and am currently working in Camden and Enfield. In the leaving care team, we work with someone who has come through the care system and assist them to develop the skills they need to live independently in the community. We work with them from the age of 16 through to 24 (if they are engaged in higher education).
What was your motivation in applying?
I took a degree in electronics management and worked with London Underground before returning to Bedfordshire due to family circumstances. There, I took a research job investigating low take–up of social services among ethnic minority groups. I’d been an assistant youth worker before university
and still had interest in the area. I enjoyed the work and decided to remain with Bedfordshire social services who spon–sored me to do a diploma in social work.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Not one day is the same; you are working with human behaviour, which is unpredictable and that is the best part of the job. I have an important role to play in helping young people become good citizens. It’s really important that they get the best start so they can fulfil their potential and have the skills to maintain a stable life. I’ve also been involved in going to Pakistan to do kinship assessments. This arises when a family in the UK cannot look after a child. If the next of kin is in Pakistan we send someone over to assess whether that family is suitable to care for the child.
Most challenging part of the job?
It can be difficult when you have young people who are aggressive and violent. When this happens they are usually angry at the system. You have to develop strategies to deal with the anger and at the same time try and have a meaningful relationship with the young person, in order to move them on in life.
Being under resourced.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
Consider what you want to get out of a career in social work. It can be can be stressful as you are responsible for the client – whatever action you take has an effect on their life. You need to be a good problem solver as young people expect you to have the answers without giving you the question.