How do I get a graduate job in social work?
Social care is all about looking after and supporting vulnerable or needy members of society. Qualified social workers make up a large proportion of the sector, but there are also allied professions such as occupational therapy, counselling, residential care and advice. The sector is huge and encompasses hundreds of roles, suitable for people from all backgrounds and with any level of qualification.
What are the main areas of social work?
Qualified social workers tend to choose to work in one particular area, and you can opt for the one that interests you most. These are just some of the areas in which you could work:
- Adoption and fostering
- Asylum seekers
- Housing and homelessness
- Learning disabilities
- Older people
- Substance and drug misuse
What training do I need to become a qualified social worker?
If you want to be a social worker you'll need an approved professional qualification in addition to a range of 'soft' skills (such as good communication, enthusiasm and good judgement). Your qualification could be an undergraduate degree in social work or a postgraduate qualification. You need to be registered with the relevant regulatory body to practise as a social worker (as opposed to being a social care worker). In England, this is the Health and Care Professions Council.
There is a range of qualifications available to people wanting to enter other areas of social care, including degrees in occupational health and diplomas in youth work and probation work.
How do I apply?
Look for jobs on local authority websites and in the local and national press. It's likely that you'll have to fill in an application form (either online or paper) and, if you're successful at this stage, attend an interview. There are likely to be background checks during the application process, too.