Social worker: job description
Social workers work with specific groups of clients including children, the elderly and people with mental health problems. Generally social workers specialise in either adult or child social care. The nature of the work varies according to setting.
Typical duties include:
- assessing, counselling and offering advice to clients
- arranging appropriate care, resources or benefits
- liaison with relatives, colleagues and other professionals
- report writing
- budgetary and managerial administration
- attending or contributing towards court cases
Unsociable hours are common, and in certain settings this may include shift work. Promotion is possible through specialisation, research positions or managerial roles. Ongoing professional development is an important feature of the work.
- Local authorities
- Health service trusts
- Local education authorities (LEAs)
- General practices
- Health centres
- Private nursing homes
Vacancies are advertised in a variety of publications including local authority job lists, The Guardian, The Independent, Community Care, Nursing Times, Opportunities and their online equivalents.
A social work qualification professionally recognised by the General Social Care Council (GSCC) is needed to become a social worker. While DipSW qualifications are still recognised, the main qualification now used is the bachelors degree in social work.
There is also a two-year postgraduate diploma and a fast-track course for graduates from relevant disciplines. Postgraduate course applications must be made before mid-December to the Social Work Admissions System.
- Able to cope with traumatic situations
- Problem solving
- Analytical skills