Do You Care?
Who’d want to be a social worker, eh? You’d have to want to work with people, manage budgets, organise teams, work in hospitals or be self employed to do that job. John Madge finds out what working in social care is all about.
Social work is an incredibly varied industry, employing carers, administrators, managers
and IT professionals. It’s a great place for all kinds of graduate jobs and now’s the time to get looking, as the department of health is currently in the middle of a massive campaign to recruit social workers. With so many different jobs in the industry, what are the skills that will have employers bending over backwards?
Mary Sanver, a social worker for Enfield, says: "If you like people then being a social worker can be a good job." Every part of the social work industry involves working with others – social workers are organised into teams so that nothing is done alone. Being a people person is a must, even for those who aren’t working directly with the public. Although Mary warns that there are a lot of people out there who think ‘I’m good at talking to people so I’d make a good social worker’, it can sometimes be about more than this. Whilst it can be a very rewarding job, it sometimes needs a skin that’s inch-thick.
A social worker for one of the London borough’s talked to Real World about the difficulties working with some of the people social workers aim to help. "Unfortunately they see everything as their right. As soon as you say no, they’ll kick off. So you have to be calm and collected." As social workers work with some of the most disadvantaged members of society, it’s essential to want to know about their circumstances. "Be very aware," advises Mary Sanver, "of what’s happening in the world, what’s happening in the UK, politically, socially. It’s very important because it helps inform your assessments when you do that. It makes you aware of what’s happening and why things are the way they are."
It might sound as if social work is a stressful and difficult industry, but for those already involved with it, it’s a part of their life they wouldn’t change. "I love it," says Mary, "I enjoy working with families, working with people and it’s a constant learning process." Being a social worker, or any of the members of the team that support them, might require hard work, cultural awareness and a lot of emotional strength but how many other jobs are there where everyone from administrative assistants to the managers are daily changing people’s lives?