Degrees and Universities: Undergraduate Degree in Sociology, University of Delhi, India; Masters in Social Work, University of Delhi, India; Post Graduate Diploma in International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights and Refugee Studies, India. Post Qualifying Module 1 in Social Work, Bournemouth University, and currently pursuing Specialist Award in Social Work (Child Care), Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.
Work Title: Social Worker
What it is you actually do? I work in the Looked After Children’s Team, Enfield Social Services as a Social Worker with children and families. I work with children from different backgrounds who are already in the care system and are being looked after by the local authority and not by their birth parents. The reasons for this can be various and include neglect, abuse, abandonment, and parents’ inability to provide safe care.
I act on behalf of the local authority in a corporate parental role and work towards ensuring that the ‘looked-after’ child’s needs are met, and their safety and stability is ensured. This happens at various stages in different case scenarios in a multi-disciplinary framework. As a social worker for a child in the care of the local authority I liaise with various professionals and agencies involved ensuring that the child’s needs are met. My work is underpinned by the principle that the ‘welfare of the child is of paramount importance’ (CA1989).
Why did you decide to go into this sector? Towards the end of my undergraduate degree in sociology in 2002 I was at crossroads in deciding what I wanted to do with my life and career. Sociology helped me to understand various aspects of a society, both structural and functional. The concepts of sociology I learnt at university acted as tools to view reality through. The challenges, problems, conflicts that I saw at every level in society, both in India at that time and globally constantly, provided me with the impetus to do something to change the world. I wanted to address these problems and make a difference in alleviating them rather than just studying them ‘for what they were’.
I came to understand after some research and career counselling that a degree in social work would equip me with skills, tools, techniques and approaches of working with people in different set ups thereby contributing to society by being directly involved in enhancing their social functioning. I went on to do a Masters in social work and worked in a few different settings after that. I wanted to work in the UK so that I could experience working in a global, multicultural environment so here I am in this sector!
Would you undertake further training to further your career? Yes I regularly undertake training at my workplace to further my knowledge. At some stage I would like to go on to do a PhD in International Social Work.
What do you like most about you do and are there any downsides? I love doing activities and spending time with the children I work with. They are a lot of fun!
ometimes I can get too emotionally involved, internalise stress, and find it hard to switch off.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do?
- Respect for people’s lives and their circumstances.
- Good communication skills
What would be your best piece of advice for graduates wishing to come into this sector? Do join this sector and I can assure you it feels great to know that your work does make a difference!