Degree and university: Social work, Angela Ruskin University
Job title: Social worker, Essex County Council
What do you do in your job?
I deal with complex childcare cases including court childcare proceedings and child protection cases. I carry a caseload, which means I look after children on the protection register.
What do you like about your job?
I enjoy the frontline aspect of the job. I am constantly interacting with service users and this is diverse, with so many different professionals in lots of different settings. Obviously, when it occurs to you that you might have made a positive difference to somebody’s life, however small, it is the most rewarding thing in the world. I find that it’s a constant reminder of why I chose social work in the first place.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Managing my caseload can be extremely challenging. I work with so many different people in completely different circumstances and it can be difficult to make sure you always make the right decisions with regards to each case’s wellbeing. Working with people means that there are always unexpected issues and problems, and I have to be prepared and able to prioritise.
When you are working with a person who refuses to engage and accept help. This is particularly prevalent in my field – working with children and young people. It can leave you feeling helpless, especially when you can clearly see how much your help could benefit them. That’s one of the great things about having a strong team like mine – if you’re ever feeling despondent you can bounce ideas around and find new ways to tackle things. It can also be very hard to detach from work when you get home.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field?
Arrange a visit to a social work team in your field of interest – just talking to people can be very helpful. Prepare to be emotionally challenged but don’t let that put you off; there are lots of opportunities to move between fields and the work is very varied. It’s ultimately so rewarding that you’ll never worry that you made the wrong decision.