NAME: CAMILLE GINNELLY, 24
DEGREE/UNIVERSITY: BSC SOCIAL WORK WITH DIPLOMA IN SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH
OCCUPATION: SOCIAL WORKER (CHILD ASSESSMENT AND FAMILY SUPPORT TEAM), ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL
What does your job involve?
The child assessment and family support team receives all the childcare–related concerns from public and other agencies. The referrals are looked at by the manager who will make a decision as to what happens next. Either it will be decided that a social worker needs to visit the family to make an initial assessment within seven days, or advice and information will be sent to family, the same day, to let them know what help is on offer. One week in three, I’m on duty, which is when I’ll pick up new referrals and spend the following two weeks working with them. The assessment is the start of the process of identifying what support a child or family may need. This may involve support from other agencies, such as Home Start, a charity helping families with young children, or we might need to engage with the school. We may need to call a partnership meeting of professionals to discuss concerns raised and if we identify a significant risk to the child we’ll call a child protection meeting to decide what move to make next.
What was your motivation in choosing this career?
After my A–levels I took a year out and worked as youth support worker at a housing organisation. This made me look into social work as a career and that’s where I decided I wanted to be. My final placement while doing my university degree was in a child and family setting and that inspired me to apply for my current job.
What do you enjoy about your job?
It’s a hugely satisfying job. Working directly with children and families means that my job is always different. I spend about 50 per cent of my time out of the office. Other bonuses are that I work in an extremely supportive team and there are loads of opportunities to learn and take further training.
What is the most challenging part of the job?
It is stressful at times but I try not to take it home with me. Working with a strong team is a major part of being able to do that. Obviously when you are working with a case where there is a child at risk it can be quite upsetting.
And the worst part?
There are sometimes long and late hours. The paperwork is one of the downfalls of the job – there’s plenty of it as you have to keep a record of every visit. However this is important to ensure that accurate records are kept for both families and professionals.
What advice would you give to readers considering a career in your field?
Get some experience. Had I not worked at youth support I would have found it tougher going on to social work. You need to think on your feet and be a clear communicator.