Some years ago I started a website that was aimed at supporting Students and Newly Qualified Social Workers. As I was just starting out in this career myself, I felt that support for those in my position was patchy and many people in lower performing authorities or less helpful Universities/Colleges were suffering as a result. I dreamed of creating an online peer-support network where we could share best practice, seek advice and help out our fellow practitioners. This never really worked out but I did make connections with a group of students online who I started to offer informal support to. One of these students jokingly referred to me as a ‘Social Work Tutor’ and, when I looked to set up a Facebook page, that name seemed to fit. I’ve often thought about changing the name but, as everyone knows me by this now, it has to stay!
I receive thousands of emails, messages and social media notifications every day which makes it hard to reply to all of you who get in touch. Due to work commitments I’m also only able to check my messages for short periods of time on breaks, my lunch time (if I manage to get one!), early morning and in the evening. This means that, while I would love to have the time to help out everyone who gets in touch, it’s simply not possible. To address this issue I have set up a Facebook Group where people can make friends, share best practice, seek support and ask for advice from others. Search Facebook for ‘Social Work Tutor Group’ or click here to join. So please feel free to join the group to ask questions or share your content there.
I’m not going to lie to you… Social Work can be tough. There’s a reason why the average Social Worker only lasts eight years in the career, sickness rates are 60% higher than the national average and 20% of Children’s Social Work positions remain unfilled. All that being said, in my opinion there is no finer career and I genuinely love my job. You will have hard times, but you will also have brilliant times. You will face stress, but you will also experience elation at helping others make positive changes in their lives. I’m not going to hide the fact it’s a hard career from the world, but by publicising the challenges we face (either through my satirical memes or more serious articles), I hope I’m doing my bit to bring about the changes we need.
Social Work is going through an exciting period of change and now is a great time to think about joining this rewarding career. There are many different ways to get into Social Work right now. In the United Kingdom you have the choice of access courses, university degrees, masters’ programmes and new postgraduate training schemes such as Frontline. As a first point of advice I would suggest checking out this career profile if you live in the UK. My friends in the USA can have a look at this really helpful page as a starting point for your career research.