Qualified social workers can find jobs with local authorities or in the voluntary sector, or with providers of social care. The roles open to them include operational, policy and management jobs.
You must have approved qualifications to become a social worker – either a degree or a suitable postgraduate qualification. However, the majority of social care jobs do not require a degree. Social care is definied as the provision of personal care, social support and protection to adults and children in need or at risk.
- Read organisations’ websites to see what they say about themselves and why you should think about working for them.
- Get hold of recent reports, independent evaluations or reviews undertaken of the work the organisation carries out.
- Use them to see how they are performing.
- Ask if you could speak to a recent social work graduate or other new recruit and find out how effective the organisation’s induction, supervision and support arrangements are.
- Shop around – not all voluntary or statutory organisations are identical or offer the same benefits – the most important thing is to find the right fit for you.
- Be afraid to do temporary or agency work – it’s all good experience.
- Be too influenced by local authority star ratings (no stars = ‘not so good’, three stars = best possible rating). Even social services on ‘special measures’ (with less than no stars) will excel or be improving in some areas.
- Without first checking out why, be tempted by an organisation that has lots of vacancies. High staff turnover may mean that an employer is failing to support its social workers.
- Be afraid to ask searching questions at interview.
- Feel you have to take the first job you’re offered.