What does a Social Worker do?
Social Workers work with individuals, families and communities to help them overcome various challenges and gain improved control over their lives. These professionals work in various settings, including hospitals, children’s homes, frail care centres and schools. They also provide support for impoverished communities and families that face societal issues like substance abuse, lack of education and violence.
Social workers can work in either statutory or non-statutory roles. Those in statutory placements, such as child protection or adult safeguarding, can stage statutory interventions when necessary to protect vulnerable parties. Social workers who are placed in non-statutory settings don’t have such powers.
Social Worker skills and qualifications
The job of a Social Worker involves constant interaction with diverse groups of people and individuals, including disadvantaged communities, supervisors and other professionals, it’s essential that they therefore have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Apart from needing to actively listen to clients and co-workers, they must be able to clearly articulate plans and ideas. A successful Social Worker candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications, that typically include:
- Empathetic nature to adequately understand clients’ predicaments and provide the necessary support
- Excellent organisational skills to successfully prioritise the many different aspects of the job
- Strong critical thinking to objectively evaluate each case and determine the best path of action
- Patience to successfully deal with complex cases and clients who may not progress as expected
- Superior emotional intelligence and maturity to cope with the emotional demands of the job
- Effective analysis, assessment and planning skills
Social Worker experience requirements
The level of experience a Social Worker needs varies from position to position. Whereas some positions are a good fit for newly qualified Social Workers, others require professionals with many years of social work experience. The specific position will also dictate what type of experience a Social Worker needs, whether this is proven ability to work with children or experience in working with adults with mental health issues. Employers may also ask that candidates show awareness of relevant legislature and have experience in creating professional assessments and reports.
Social Worker education and training requirements
To gain access to the profession, Social Workers need an honour’s or postgraduate degree in social work. In addition, the degree has to be approved by the regulator, Social Work England. Employers may still accept candidates who possess a diploma in social work (DipSW) or other previous social work qualifications. However, institutions in England aren’t offering such courses any longer. Newly qualified candidates can consolidate their learning and develop their professional skills by completing an Assessed and Support Year in Employment (ASYE) programme. In addition, Social Workers need to pass enhanced background checks.
Social Worker salary expectations
According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Social Worker is £27.49 per hour. However, salaries vary depending on factors like location, employer and level of experience.
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