The Social Work sector is a chance to work with people who really need you, and go home at the end of the day knowing you’ve made a real difference to the world. In our increasingly digital economy, being able to see the results of your work so clearly is rare and precious.
If you’re interested in Social Work, you’ll need to qualify first: social workers need to complete a course approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Many universities offer such courses, so you’ll need to pick the one that feels right to you.
Picking a university isn’t always easy: it’s more complicated than looking at the league tables to find which ones provide the best results. You’re going to be at this institution for three or four years so you need to feel comfortable and at home there. This will govern whether you pick a quiet, studious university or one with a reputation for an exciting nightlife. If you prefer the diversity of a big city you might want to study in London, but if you feel this would provide a distraction from your studies or simply aren’t at home in big anonymous cities, a more enclosed, ‘campus’ university on the fringe of a small town will suit you better.
The social work degree will include classroom training on techniques, and the law governing social interventions, as well as hands on experience and work placements, giving you a clearer idea of what social work is like.
If you want to boost your chances of being accepted onto your favoured course and stand out later in job interviews, it’s worth looking into volunteering before you study. Charities offer aspiring social workers the chance to help out in their local communities. This could also help you decide if social work is really for you – as the realities can be different to your ambitions when you first begin training.
If you already have a degree you may instead be able take a masters or conversion course to help you being your career more quickly – Skills for Care is the industry body that can help to advise you on your best route into the profession.
Now is an exciting time to enter social care, with new approaches revolutionising the field, and helping to create new opportunities for everyone.